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“Everyone was predicting bigger and better things for Calgary, but the combination of COVID-19 and the oil price crisis has completely turned it around,” Danison said. “The vacancy rate will be going up and rents will be going down.”
Gerry Baxter — executive director of the Calgary Residential Rental Association, which represents landlords and building managers — said many landlords have been offering payment plans to tenants who have suffered job loss and been unable to pay rent due to the pandemic. He said in addition to the prospect of rising vacancy rates, many of these landlords are dealing with double-digit property tax increases this year as the City of Calgary moves to shift some of the tax burden from non-residential to residential properties.
“On average, our landlords are looking at a 23 per cent increase in property tax. Most will be facing increases in the thousands of dollars,” he said. “Even if they could raise rents, I don’t know how many would be able to do so, because tenants can’t afford it. So the question is, how does anyone manage to stay in business?”