Changes to rent control hopeful in addressing affordability

I don’t know about you, but me, I’m starting to get really confused about what falls under rent control and what doesn’t?

The Ontario government recently released their 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. In it, there were modest attempts to address the shortage of affordable housing.

This government is bringing back exemptions for new rental housing development to encourage developers to build rental buildings and they will not fall under rent control laws. Existing buildings will continue to have rent control. The previous government put in stringent rental regulations which has already had a strong impact on rental affordability in the Toronto region.

Now I’m no fan of rent control and have made that point clear.

Earlier this year I wrote about Toronto becoming a city of renters in the next ten years. (read post here)

Maybe this is good news on the affordability front and our government is being responsible and forward thinking looking to ensure there will be adequate rental options in place to house those in need? Though the skeptic in me thinks not.

Rather, cheap political points are the more likely cause as this seems to be the way politics is played these days. The rules seem to change frequently, or are at least altered, causing confusion in the process.

We don’t have rental housing affordability any more than when we have housing affordability in Toronto.

Gone are the days of the $650/month basement apartment. Enter the $1100/month basement rental and climbing upwards. Basement apartments were the ‘foot-in-the-door’ option for many looking to step out on their own. Independent over the slightly more affordable option of a room in a shared house, the basement apartment was your typical starter rental. I’ve seen many in the $1500-$2000/month range in parts of Toronto. Affordable? Not really.

The government needs to either shit or get off the pot on affordability in the rental housing market. Pick a plan and stick with it. Ex-premier Wynne’s fair housing policy is a joke and actually made it worse for tenants, as many of the starter rental condos  geared towards investors and affordable housing, have gone through the roof since her changes were enacted. It was the hottest real estate market in Toronto until recently. Thanks Kathleen Wynne! said nobody.

Simple plan. No rent control anywhere. Encourage developers to build rental housing and let the economies of supply and demand take place. Maybe have a rental housing department that oversees rental affordability and provide subsidies or rebates to those struggling to afford living within the GTA? Get creative on helping citizens live in neighbourhoods they work and play in and stay clear of regulation that only seems to hamper development.



Leave a Reply