The Hamilton Spectator

Protection fund, Bill of Rights for renters coming in next budget


A federal government announceme­nt that rental history could be used on a credit score is a “game changer” for those who have been faithfully paying their rent for years, said a longtime advocate of the idea.

Jackee Kasandy, CEO of the Black Entreprene­urs and Businesses of Canada Society, said getting funding from banks remains a challenge for longtime renters like her, unlike homeowners who can put up property as collateral.

“I’ve rented successful­ly for 20 years. Why doesn’t that count?” Kasandy said. “I’ve always asked that question.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the plan Wednesday, along with other supports for renters, including a renters protection fund and a bill of rights.

He said there’s something fundamenta­lly unfair about paying $2,000 a month for rent, while those paying the same for a mortgage get equity and build their credit score.

“Renters matter, and young Canadians put a lot of their hard earned money toward rent. We think that should count for a lot more,” he said during the announceme­nt.

Trudeau told a small crowd at a Vancouver community centre that the government wants landlords, banks and credit bureaus to make sure rental history is taken into account on credit scores, giving firsttime buyers a better chance at getting a mortgage, with a lower interest rate.

Kasandy said she realized that she and many other immigrants to Canada don’t own homes but end up paying a big portion of their incomes on rent, payments that could be tracked and help build credit over time.

“That should count for something and it hasn’t counted for anything,” she said.

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