How much are you paying for rent? Like most Canadians, you’re likely paying a lot more than you were just a few years ago.
Rapidly rising rental costs have become a pressing issue across Canada, impacting individuals and families who struggle to secure affordable housing. Rent is 20% higher than it was only two years ago and the average rent in Canada is now $2,004 (as of April 2023), according to data from Rentals.ca.
“The report found that the average price for a one-bedroom apartment across 35 of the most populated cities in the country was $1,811, while the average for a two-bedroom was $2,239,” says Alexandra Mae Jones in a story by CTVNews.ca.
“Of these 35 cities, only 10 had average prices below $2,000 for a two-bedroom apartment unit,” she adds.
As the demand for rental properties continues to outpace supply, politicians must address this issue and implement measures to curb skyrocketing rents. In this article, we will explore potential solutions that politicians can consider to alleviate the burden of high rental costs and create a more affordable housing market for Canadians.
1. Increase Investment in Affordable Housing
One of the key steps politicians can take is to increase investment in affordable housing initiatives. By allocating more funds to the construction of affordable housing units, subsidies, and rent control programs, governments can help ensure a greater supply of affordable options for renters. This approach would alleviate the strain on the rental market and provide more affordable alternatives for individuals and families in need.
2. Implement Rent Control Measures
Rent control policies can help protect tenants from exorbitant rent increases. By implementing effective and balanced rent control measures, politicians can set limits on how much landlords can increase rent each year, providing stability and predictability for renters. However, it is essential to strike a balance that does not discourage landlords from maintaining or investing in rental properties.
3. Encourage Purpose-Built Rental Construction
Politicians can incentivize the construction of purpose-built rental properties by offering tax breaks, expedited permits, and other financial incentives to developers. Increasing the supply of purpose-built rental units helps address the demand-supply gap and puts downward pressure on rental prices. By encouraging developers to invest in rental housing, politicians can create more options for renters, enhancing affordability and choice in the market.
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4. Support Co-operative and Non-Profit Housing
Co-operative and non-profit housing models provide affordable alternatives to traditional rental properties. Politicians can allocate resources to support the development and maintenance of cooperative and non-profit housing initiatives. These models often prioritize long-term affordability and community engagement. It makes them viable solutions to address rising rental costs and ensure sustainable housing options for Canadians.
5. Enhance Tenant Protections
Stronger tenant protection laws can help safeguard renters’ rights and prevent unjust evictions. Politicians can introduce legislation that strengthens tenants’ rights, improves dispute resolution mechanisms, and ensures fair and transparent rental practices. Enhancing tenant protections can provide stability and peace of mind for renters. This will enable them to maintain secure housing without the fear of sudden rent increases or unfair treatment.
6. Foster Partnerships with Private Sector
Politicians can collaborate with the private sector to explore innovative solutions to the housing affordability crisis. Public-private partnerships can facilitate the development of affordable rental housing projects and encourage landlords to offer rent subsidies or incentives. By working together, politicians and private entities can leverage their respective strengths and resources to address the housing affordability challenge more effectively.
A final word on affordable rent in Canada
Addressing the skyrocketing rental costs across Canada requires proactive and comprehensive measures from politicians. They can work towards creating a more affordable and accessible rental market. Policymakers must prioritize the well-being of renters. They must take decisive action to ensure that all Canadians have access to safe, secure, and affordable housing options.