News / Calgary

Nenshi accuses Calgary landlords of ‘gouging’ tenants in city’s tight rental market

Mayor Naheed Nenshi turned some heads Thursday when he publicly called out Calgary landlords for “gouging” tenants in the city's tight rental market.

In a radio interview on CBC, Nenshi said there’s no reason for property owners to be jacking up rents, citing his own experience as a landlord who has not increased rent in four years.

“I have a rental property, and the rent that I charge is based on the mortgage that I pay, the utility cost, and getting a little bit of a decent return,” the mayor said. “None of those things has changed. My mortgage is the same as it was before; my utility costs have not gone up; I'm still getting a decent return.”

The mayor accused some local landlords of looking at their business as “a get-rich-quick scheme.”

“There’s been way too much of that happening," he said.

Derek Fildebrandt of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said he was perplexed by the mayor’s “lecture.”

Fildebrandt noted “municipal property taxes have skyrocketed” in the past four years and said utility rates have risen, too, and those costs will be passed on from property owners to tenants.

“Opportunity costs” have also increased along with housing prices, Fildebrandt added, prompting owners to either sell their properties or raise rent.

“If they’re not doing that, then they’re frankly not very good businessmen,” he said.

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