End Vacancy Decontrol & Landlord Greed
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A recent fight has started in Toronto to end Vacancy Decontrol. And I believe that is a movement that needs to spread in this current climate of rent hikes in the GTA and beyond.
In the last 6 months to a year, Hamilton, Ontario has exploded with over-priced rental properties. What was a $1600 2-story house with full basement 6 months ago, is now a $2000+ property. The main floor of a bungalow is now going for between $1300-$1800, if not more.
And why all these hikes? My research has come back with one basic word - greed.
I spoke with several tenants who left their properties for various reasons. Most of whom had been in their homes less than a few years - which means that the rent on their unit would not have had to catch up to current market value due to years of rent control. - Most of them mentioned that the price point their landlord was charging new tenants was hundreds of dollars more than they were paying. And few, if any at all, had increased their property worth at all - via either renovations or upgrades of any kind.
What was the general response when the previous tenants asked why? "Because we can." One even cited "People are moving here from Toronto. And they have money if they're from there. So why not?"
On a different side of comparison, a friend recently moved out of Toronto, and was renting a 1 bedroom basement, a 2 minute walk from the subway, for $960. I have been on Kijiji, looking at similar units in Hamilton, and they are renting anywhere between $900 and $1200. It should not be more expensive to live in Hamilton than Toronto.
I'm sure you can understand why this is a large problem. And it's a problem that you can help fix.
I have tried to bring up this discussion in recent months. With the Basic Income Pilot Program on the horizon, I wondered what would keep landlords from raising their rents even further. They've already shown their willingness to raise the rates just because people are fleeing and overpriced city. What would keep them from doing so when people have a basic income to 'spare'? I mean, they have it, so why wouldn't they ask for it?
I was met with the idea that the competitive market would control the prices - that people being unwilling to pay outrageous prices would cause landlords to be more reasonable with their rents. Unfortunately, as this city has demonstrated, that's not the way it works.
People need homes to live in. And, in my own hunt in the last several months, when I have tried to haggle or told a landlord their asking price was too inflated, I was told "If you don't like it. Don't apply. Someone else will pay the price." And they were right. A 1-bedroom, open concept unit, that didn't even have kitchen cupboards, rented for $1700 this previous summer.
I remember seeing ads on TV when I was a young girl, of a mother opening a can of food, turning her lights off. When she closed the can, her lights turned back on. The ad was about Ontarians having to choose between food and electricity. I had never thought that 15+ years later, the problem would still persist, and be worse than before.
Many people are being displaced by this rampant landlord greed. And even more are sacrificing their health and utilities just so they can have a roof over their heads.
Bill 144 starts us on the appropriate track with this journey, but many people are unaware of it's existence.
The purpose of this page is to gain the attention of the public and educate them on the situation, as well as the bill. With the hopes that their support on this page will show the law-makers how much this change is needed.
With all of the great amendments that were recently put into the Residential Tenancies Act, I believe now is the time to continue working for a fairer market.
No one should have to choose between eating and having a roof over their head. Especially not because of uncontrolled greed.
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