Apply rent controls on newer buildings: Editorial

March 20, 2017
Article Source
Toronto Star

From a Toronto Star editorial: Bidding wars. Lineups around the block for viewings. Prices doubling.

No, we're not talking about the hot housing market, but a renter's nightmare.

How tight is the rental market in the Toronto area? It's so tight that some landlords are making use of the so-called 1991 "loophole" in the Residential Tenancies Act to hike rents by hundreds of dollars a month, forcing tenants out of their homes.

Happily, relief may be in sight. New Democrat MPP Peter Tabuns plans to introduce a private members' bill at Queen’s Park on Monday that would close the loophole, which exempts landlords who own units in any buildings constructed after 1991 from annual rent-control guidelines.

Even better, Housing Minister Chris Ballard says he, too, plans to “address unfair rises in rental costs by delivering substantive rent control reform in Ontario.”

It's about time. The loophole should have been closed long ago. It has created an unfair two-tier rental market for tenants for decades. For example, landlords who own units in buildings constructed before 1991 can raise rents by only 1.5 per cent this year.

For owners of units in buildings constructed after 1991 it's the Wild West. That's because the overall vacancy rate is only 1.3 per cent, the lowest in seven years, giving tenants little choice but to pay up.

How bad is it? One senior living on a fixed income saw her rent jump by $400 a month. A millennial saw her rent for a one-bedroom condo jump by $1,000 a month.

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