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Housing minister says T4 rent rate policy will be reviewed

Jacobson, Jackie_2019_cmyk
1410jackiejacobson4.jpg Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo Jackie Jacobson, MLA for Nunakput, following the 2019 swearing in ceremony. Oct. 11, 2019

Housing Minister Paulie Chinna pledged on Tuesday to review the way the NT Housing Corporation determines how much rent its tenants should pay.

Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson knocked the rental assessment policy that T4 tax returns from the previous year are used set rent for disadvantaging seasonal and casually employed workers.

The issue, Jacobson charged, was these assessments didn’t represent a tenant’s actual finances at the time they're paying rent. He argues using a pay stub is a better option.

The current policy was built with consistency in mind, Chinna said in response to Jacobson, acknowledging “it doesn’t meet the needs of seasonal workers.”

She wouldn’t commit to any timeline implementing the policy change. She also said using pay stubs as proof of income is already an option.

Chinna encouraged residents to use monthly rent assessments if they feel they’re overpaying.

Jacobson argued that high unemployment in NWT's northernmost riding has made the rent assessments a pressing concern in need of attention.

“All the jobs are taken in our small communities, and people are hurting,” he said.

However, Jacobson was clearly pleased, declaring it "a good day today" while speaking in the legislature.

I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lot of happy people in the territory today,” Jacobson.