Shouldn’t We Talk About Rent Control?

Toronto Politics

8 minute read

December 5, 2018

“A Plan For The People”

I know many of you cringe when you read this.

I hate government rhetoric, and I hate catchy slogans that are designed to solicit votes from the least-informed, who are least-likely to look beyond the surface.  It’s like those who get their news from headlines, but don’t spend the additional sixty seconds to read the story itself.

While many blog readers have told me I’m far too political for what is supposed to be a real estate blog, I have always maintained that “Toronto Realty Blog” covers one topic per word; all things Toronto, all things real estate, and all things that I want to talk about, on any subject, in the blog format.

I have made no secret about my disdain for the Ontario Liberal government, who were mercilessly ousted from power earlier this year.  But I will also admit that one of the last people in the world I want running the province is Doug Ford.

Nevertheless, the PC’s policies are more in line with my wishes for the province, as the fiscal conservative that I am.

C’est la vie.

I monitor the PC’s moves very closely, as I had with the Liberals.  And while I get acid reflux when I see “A Plan For The People,” because it’s just so damn cliché, I have to admit that I’m pleased thus far.

A Plan For The People is a girthy 174-pages long, and I read the whole thing over the course of a couple of weeks.  As with any government manifesto, this one is ripe with self-congratulations, aloof references to would-be policies to be implemented at a later date, and a whole lot of hyperbole!

As a real estate agent, the one aspect of the plan that I find the most interesting is with respect to housing, more specifically, rent control.

Don’t get me wrong – ending “discovery math” puts a smile on my face that could stretch from coast-to-coast.  But I think today, we’ll stick to real estate.

While the “Housing Supply Action Plan” section of the document is devoid of any actual plan, and merely specifies that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing will launch a plan in the spring of 2019, it does reference the following:

“Since 1992, rental unit construction has not matched household formation. Approximately 20 per cent of Ontario households live in purpose‐built rental housing. In 2017, the level of new rental construction would accommodate only 10 per cent of new Ontario households. If construction of rental units had kept pace with underlying demand, construction would have started on an additional 6,100 units in 2017. 

This undersupply of purpose‐built rental units contributed to historically low vacancy rates in the rental market. Rent control policies that weaken investment incentives and construction activity have played a role in limiting supply growth in purpose‐built rental housing. Strong increases in the supply of condominiums, which until recently were not subject to rent‐control guidelines, have helped keep the market better balanced.

To address these challenges, the government will enact policies to increase the supply of housing across Ontario. Part of this initiative will be the reintroduction of the rent control exemption that will apply to new rental units first occupied after today. This will help create market‐based incentives for supply growth that will encourage an increase in housing supply to meet the needs of the people of Ontario. As well, the government will cancel the Development Charges Rebate Program. This program is an expensive and ineffective method to incentivize new housing supply and cancelling it will result in savings of approximately $100 million over four years. The Province will follow through on its commitment to preserve rent control for existing tenants. This balanced approach will protect existing renters while creating the right conditions to increase the supply of rental units.”

I don’t disagree with any of this, nor do I disagree with the government’s decision to end a rent control policy that was destined to have the opposite effect of what was intended.

However, many people in Toronto are up in arms about the decision, and in my humble opinion, that’s because many of them are grandstanding, and/or don’t understand rent control.

Let’s not forget that Jennifer Keesmat didn’t even know how rent control worked.  And I spoke to people who were present at this meeting, who reenacted her dear-in-the-headlinghts, dropped-jaw demeanour when told that what she was asking for, was already in place.

If you’re like many of us in the city, you read BlogTo and Toronto Life on the regular.  I am no different.

Three weeks ago, when the changes to rent control legislation were announced, Blog TO published this:

“Ontario Government Scraps Rent Control And Toronto Doesn’t Like It”

Again, read the headline, then read the article.

In my opinion, I would suggest the headline should Read “….And Toronto City Councilors Don’t Like It.”

You could specifically add that the left-leaning (I know many of you hate that term, but how would you describe it?) councilors don’t like it.

Here are a few Tweets in response to the announcement:


This is grandstanding, by very definition.  But what else should we expect?  Left, right, centre – every politician is going to act accordingly, at every opportunity.

The BlogTO article contains this little nugget:

“Experts say otherwise, arguing that scrapping any form of rent control will effectively serve to drive people out of their homes.”

This, I believe, is where the conversation should be.

Not around politicians grandstanding, not around sexy headlines, not around hyperbolic and catastrophic predictions like, “This will drive millennials out of the city,” without supporting evidence, but rather around the economic arguments for and against rent control.

From my perspective, and why I struggle with this topic, is that economists universally agree that rent controls have an adverse affect on the market.  And all the while, politicians use it as an opportunity to fight “for the people,” whether they want to acknowledge the economists’ findings or not.

I have read countless articles and papers on rent control, many are long, and many are complex.  But there’s one I like from the Library of Economics & Liberty, which is a bit dated, but contains a solid economic explanation of why rent controls fail, and I can’t help but enjoy being brought back to the days of examining supply and demand curves.

I’m sure many of you can provide links, essays, et al, and I encourage you to do so.  But this one is short enough to share on this blog, concise enough to drive home the point, and I believe, above all else, fair.



The Effects of Rent Control

Rent control, like all other government-mandated price controls, is a law placing a maximum price, or a “rent ceiling,” on what landlords may charge tenants. If it is to have any effect, the rent level must be set at a rate below that which would otherwise have prevailed. (An enactment prohibiting apartment rents from exceeding, say, $100,000 per month would have no effect since no one would pay that amount in any case.) But if rents are established at less than their equilibrium levels, the quantity demanded will necessarily exceed the amount supplied, and rent control will lead to a shortage of dwelling spaces. In a competitive market and absent controls on prices, if the amount of a commodity or service demanded is larger than the amount supplied, prices rise to eliminate the shortage (by both bringing forth new supply and by reducing the amount demanded). But controls prevent rents from attaining market-clearing levels and shortages result.

With shortages in the controlled sector, this excess demand spills over onto the non-controlled sector (typically, new upper-bracket rental units or condominiums). But this non-controlled segment of the market is likely to be smaller than it would be without controls because property owners fear that controls may one day be placed on them. The high demand in the non-controlled segment along with the small quantity supplied, both caused by rent control, boost prices in that segment. Paradoxically, then, even though rents may be lower in the controlled sector, they rise greatly for uncontrolled units and may be higher for rental housing as a whole.

As in the case of other price ceilings, rent control causes shortages, diminution in the quality of the product, and queues. But rent control differs from other such schemes. With price controls on gasoline, the waiting lines worked on a first-come-first-served basis. With rent control, because the law places sitting tenants first in the queue, many of them benefit.

Economists are virtually unanimous in concluding that rent controls are destructive. In a 1990 poll of 464 economists published in the May 1992 issue of the American Economic Review, 93 percent of U.S. respondents agreed, either completely or with provisos, that “a ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available.”1 Similarly, another study reported that more than 95 percent of the Canadian economists polled agreed with the statement.2 The agreement cuts across the usual political spectrum, ranging all the way from Nobel Prize winners milton friedman and friedrich hayek on the “right” to their fellow Nobel laureate gunnar myrdal, an important architect of the Swedish Labor Party’s welfare state, on the “left.” Myrdal stated, “Rent control has in certain Western countries constituted, maybe, the worst example of poor planning by governments lacking courage and vision.”3 His fellow Swedish economist (and socialist) Assar Lindbeck asserted, “In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing.”4 That cities like New York have clearly not been destroyed by rent control is due to the fact that rent control has been relaxed over the years.5 Rent stabilization, for example, which took the place of rent control for newer buildings, is less restrictive than the old rent control. Also, the decades-long boom in the New York City housing market is not in rent-controlled or rent-stabilized units, but in condominiums and cooperative housing. But these two forms of housing ownership grew important as a way of getting around rent control.

Economists have shown that rent control diverts new investment, which would otherwise have gone to rental housing, toward greener pastures—greener in terms of consumer need. They have demonstrated that it leads to housing deterioration, fewer repairs, and less maintenance. For example, Paul Niebanck found that 29 percent of rent-controlled housing in the United States was deteriorated, but only 8 percent of the uncontrolled units were in such a state of disrepair. Joel Brenner and Herbert Franklin cited similar statistics for England and France.

The economic reasons are straightforward. One effect of government oversight is to retard investment in residential rental units. Imagine that you have five million dollars to invest and can place the funds in any industry you wish. In most businesses, governments will place only limited controls and taxes on your enterprise. But if you entrust your money to rental housing, you must pass one additional hurdle: the rent-control authority, with its hearings, red tape, and rent ceilings. Under these conditions is it any wonder that you are less likely to build or purchase rental housing?

This line of reasoning holds not just for you, but for everyone else as well. As a result, the quantity of apartments for rent will be far smaller than otherwise. And not so amazingly, the preceding analysis holds true not only for the case where rent controls are in place, but even where they are only threatened. The mere anticipation of controls is enough to have a chilling effect on such investment. Instead, everything else under the sun in the real estate market has been built: condominiums, office towers, hotels, warehouses, commercial space. Why? Because such investments have never been subject to rent controls, and no one fears that they ever will be. It is no accident that these facilities boast healthy vacancy rates and relatively slowly increasing rental rates, while residential space suffers from a virtual zero vacancy rate in the controlled sector and skyrocketing prices in the uncontrolled sector.

Although many rent-control ordinances specifically exempt new rental units from coverage, investors are too cautious (perhaps too smart) to put their faith in rental housing. In numerous cases housing units supposedly exempt forever from controls were nevertheless brought under the provisions of this law due to some “emergency” or other. New York City’s government, for example, has three times broken its promise to exempt new or vacant units from control. So prevalent is this practice of rent-control authorities that a new term has been invented to describe it: “recapture.”

Rent control has destroyed entire sections of sound housing in New York’s South Bronx and has led to decay and abandonment throughout the entire five boroughs of the city. Although hard statistics on abandonments are not available, William Tucker estimates that about 30,000 New York apartments were abandoned annually from 1972 to 1982, a loss of almost a third of a million units in this eleven-year period. Thanks to rent control, and to potential investors’ all-too-rational fear that rent control will become even more stringent, no sensible investor will build rental housing unsubsidized by government.



Is the piece dated?  Yes.

If you want something more current, there’s no shortage of options.

January 18th, 2018, Bloomberg: “Yup, Rent Control Does More Harm Than Good”

From a policy perspective, even frequent critic of Doug Ford and the PC’s, the Globe & Mail’s Marcus Gee, suggested that rent control wasn’t the best option to deal with the housing crisis, and this was back in April of 2017: “Rent Control Isn’t The Solution To Ontario’s Housing Problem.”

Toronto Realty Blog readers represent the perfect blend of conservative and liberal voices on all things social, fiscal, and economic, so I’m interested to know what you have to say.

The comments on last Friday’s blog were epic; folks like Chris, a blog-regular, going out of his way to provide evidence to counter my thoughts and opinions, and of course where would we be without Kyle, the voice of reason in my chaotic world?

To everybody that posted on Friday – thank you!  Agree or disagree, I loved the commentary, and I respect the efforts.

When it comes to the topic of rent control, I think there are arguments to be made on both sides.  As an economics major in business school, and now a Realtor, I have ample reasons to have landed on the side that I am on.

What do the rest of you think?

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Not Harold

    at 9:58 am

    Government policy should be focused on crushing professional tenant activists, ensuring a market for housing, and eliminating perverse incentives.

    The best way to do this is by legislating a mandatory minimum 5% annual rent increase when tenants stay in a unit, banning government owned or operated housing, and a hard cap of 5 years for a tenant to rent in a given building.

    The worst buildings that aren’t run by the government are those that have long term low income tenants. Thanks to perverse incentives of tenant protection law they are forced to become slums as the rules on rent increases prevent maintenance and capital repairs. Tenants becomes trapped in below market units, and they are pariahs on the open market as they presage the death of an investment if they were to be allowed to rent.

    Mandatory increases guarantee a healthy and manageable building for landlords and a maximum tenancy ensures turnover. No longer are you faced with the appropriation of your property at below market rates for 60 years. This will provide more liquidity to the market and make landlords less fearful of renting to those without perfect credit and $100k incomes.

    By having to be in the market at least every 5 years, tenants will have to decide where they can truly afford to live. We will have less concentration of poverty in certain neighbourhoods in Toronto and see people relocating to other areas or provinces where salaries match the cost of living. This will also force those companies and organizations that subsist on low wage labour to truly compete for employees. Since most of them are government agencies, restaurants, arts related, and progressive NGOs that bewail capitalism without paying their employees, it will be fun as well as productive.

    Government housing is now, has been, and will always be abhorrent. Baldy managed buildings that are unsafe due to their state of repair, unsafe due to their security, and unsafe to raise a family. Activists work to bar police from the premises and enable organised crime while actively destroying the lives of poor minority youth.

    TCHC should be disbanded and its buildings sold off or blown up. Tenants should be given 24 months to find new places to live.

    1. Carl

      at 11:22 am

      “The best way to do this is by legislating […] a hard cap of 5 years for a tenant to rent in a given building. ”

      So I suppose we will also legislate that if you own a house, you have to sell it and move every five years. (-|

    2. CEC

      at 12:49 pm

      This seems like a great way to overinflate home prices and is definitely discriminatory to renters. Unless of course you force everyone including owners to move every five years…. Now that would be extreme government intervention and a huge boost to the economy!

  2. Kyle

    at 9:59 am

    It’s not just Economists saying rent controls don’t work. It’s also history. Ontario has a long history of instituting rent control, then when it fails repealing it. Only to have some party reinstate it again to garner voter favour.

    The article is right in saying that even the specter of rent controls can chill the supply of new rental. The economics of being a landlord (especially new supply) is based on assumptions over a long holding period. If there is risk these assumptions won’t hold then bye bye new supply.

  3. Carl

    at 11:44 am

    Rent control is a blunt instrument, a desperate measure by the government that cannot come up with a better solution to the problem of high rents.

    Keesmaat’s comment about developers laughing is silly. Developers want long-term stability, not rule changes every couple of years.

    The same goes for landlords and tenants. Landlords want to know they can make reasonable profits on their investment, long-term, not just a few years until the government changes again. Tenants want to be able to plan their lives without the threat of massive rent increases hanging over their heads.

    There are better ways of providing long-term stability in the landlord-tenant contracts, other than across-the-board rent control. Such as: Better enforcement of landlords’ rights in cases where tenants violate the terms of the lease. Requiring advance notice of rent increase by the landlord, say two years instead of the current practice of two months. Long-term residential leases. Incentives for the developers to build dedicated rentals.

  4. Potato

    at 1:12 pm

    Rent control is absolutely needed, but not for anything to do with high rents: because without it, there is no security of tenancy thanks to economic eviction.

    Ontario has vacancy decontrol, and allows for increases with inflation, which is a decent compromise. If for some reason maintenance costs increase faster than general inflation, then a better compromise is to allow for a higher annual increase. 4 or 5%/yr still prevents abuses while allowing that costs may not track CPI.

    What DoFo really needs to do to help landlords is hire staff for the LTB.

  5. Jennifer

    at 1:50 pm

    Toronto is way beyond affordable housing for the average person and rent control did nothing to help curb that. It would’ve naturally flattened out at some point.

    But more than that, I am not a fan of any hinderance or disincentive to moving. Rent control essentially forces people to stay. This of course decreases supply and affects prices. But beyond the rent price, it could lead to general unhappiness because you are in a home you do not want to be in – you can’t move closer to family, closer to a job or a new job (adding to traffic/commute times), get a bigger place, etc. This is similar to the MLTT and the other high costs of moving.

  6. Alexander

    at 2:56 pm

    Previous government policies created the problem we are having today – landlords are asked to carry the weight of subsidizing their tenant housing and it is getting worse the longer their tenants stay. Those annual rent increases based on CPI figures are not covering landlords expenses and as someone mentioned the properties are becoming a slum for the lack of upgrading and maintaining rental units. Great idea to limit rent to 5 years. They can renegotiate with the existing landlord for the market rate or move out. Current policies, even with recent adjustments, are not going to solve the problem of rental supply because they are biased toward landlords and making their investments in long term rentals non-performing.
    It does not make sense to invest due to negative cash flow and non-existing capital gains with real estate prices falling.

  7. Appraiser

    at 3:24 pm

    Rent controls are a fallacy.

    It’s all about supply and demand.

    Build baby build…or it’s only going to get worse for renters.

    The city of Toronto’s long-term plan is for 300,00 more jobs downtown by 2041.

  8. Mike

    at 4:30 pm


    Do you see the changes shifting investor money into newer projects? I’m sure people looking to invest will now gravitate towards new builds. But do you think it may also prompt some investors to sell rent controlled units to buy new units?

    1. David Fleming

      at 7:00 pm

      @ Mike

      I’ve heard that pre-construction projects are having trouble selling, and now instead of shunning Realtors, and only working with their hand-selected group of scumbags that will cut their buyers’ throats, the developers are “being nice” again. But I would be even more concerned now about cancellations, “re-launches,” and material changes than before.

      As for rent control, condos in the downtown core aren’t really “trapped,” since the turnover is natural. The average tenant stays less than two years. Selling a rent-controlled unit, incurring the costs associated with the sale, and the costs associated with a new purchase, would far, FAR exceed any additional rent gained on a new unit.

      1. Mike

        at 7:44 pm

        Have you ever seen the pre-construction market struggle without the resale market following? This situation seems a little odd.

        1. daniel b

          at 10:40 am

          i think it’s possible this time around as the spread between pre-sale and resale has widened from the typical trend of about $50 psf premium to over $250 psf. Declines in presale would merely narrow the spread. By would i mean maybe as who knows what the future holds!

  9. Lise

    at 4:34 pm

    Sounds like you don’t actually understand Ontario’s rent control… It isn’t a price ceiling, but it is a maximum amount you can raise the cost of rent every year. So it means that after one year lease is up, and the rent goes to month to month, the landlord can’t just decide to double the rent. They can only raise it by the legal limit.

    1. David Fleming

      at 6:57 pm

      @ Lise

      Not sure if this was directed at myself, ie. at the blog as a whole, or if it fell to the bottom of the thread but was meant to respond to another comment.

      If it’s the former, then I can’t respond because your comment is nonsensical. It seems like you are trying to explain the concept of rent control to a group of very intelligent, informed, savvy readers/commenters?

  10. Unomoustachio

    at 5:43 pm

    I wonder if employers would have difficulty finding people to work for $14/h if their worker’s $1100 apartment was a $2000 apartment.

    I’m not a rental market expert, but I believe rents in all of the cities that surround Toronto are also unaffordable for minimum wage workers so I’m not sure if people could even reasonably commute in.

    People would be forced to live with family, get a roommate, move and change jobs, or find a job that pays enough afford rent in Toronto.

    As rents increase above inflation due to lack of rental supply and housing that is out of reach for a large part of the population, all rent controls do is subsidize rent for one group of people and pass the cost on to another.

  11. Keith

    at 8:11 pm

    The only cities that have affordable rent, are cities with a large amount of non market rental housing as part of the housing stock. The federal Liberal government stopped funding 25,000 units of co op housing per year back in 1994. Those chickens have well and truly come home to roost in Toronto and Vancouver.

    Stockholm has 30% non market housing, and Singapore 60%. Even the resort community of Whistler has built non market rental housing for workers, and provided ownership duplexes and townhouses for residents at below market rates.

    The market is never going to supply affordable rental housing for workers. The highest and best use of the land will always be luxury condos, and you can’t stop a private developer who owns the land from making as much money as they can. Rent control, while noble in intent, has a long history of failure and doesn’t work.

    Free land provided by the government, with non profit housing societies building and running the rental housing will ensure that there is stock of affordable housing for working people. It is the only solution that has proved to work.

    1. Izzy Bedibida

      at 9:53 am

      I was talking to my brother in Amsterdam. He says that the government is taking a similar approach with social/non market housing as Stockholm and Singapore, and has been big on rent controls. According to him, many of the locals, think that it is a bit intrusive, and manipulative. There is strong support as it gives housing suitability, reasonably “affordable” prices, and most importantly leaves residents with money in their pockets to spend in the city supporting the local economy instead of rent and/or commuting to distant suburbs and emptying the city after office hours.

  12. Boxers

    at 9:11 pm

    I remember living in an exempt unit and finding out that the landlord (a corporation) raising the rent on me by a higher percentage than my neighbours each year… guess they weren’t very fond of me… called the LTB and they said i should learn to negotiate better, nothing they can do. At that point I had to look at my options, at the time I couldn’t afford to buy a place but still qualified for a mortgage… now you can get into a bigger conversation about CMHC insurance and Credit Default swaps… but anecdotally it found it ironic that at the time I felt as though there was less risk and more housing security in buying a house when I couldn’t afford it than in renting… so yes I understand the economic arguments against rent control, but I think before you start preaching that you gotta get off your high horse and understand that people need some sort of housing security…. rent controls won’t solve the housing supply crisis but getting rid of them won’t either. At least rent controls offered people short term security. When things get out of control regulation is needed… if hydro rates went up 2000% tomorrow we wouldn’t say, ah well that’s supply and demand, and that happens in Cali when it was degrugilated rates spiked when supply was being manipulated

  13. Geoff

    at 9:21 am

    Much as I dislike Garth Turner (and I do) I do agree with his premise that “If governments don’t control the price of houses, why should they control rents?” In other words, being a landlord is risky business (I would never be one by choice) so I just think rent control is unfair and likely contributes to the problem it purports to solve.

  14. daniel b

    at 10:46 am

    in the short term i believe rent control actually helped the economics of PBR. In response to rent control i think most landlords became much more aggressive in their asking rents for units and became more willing to tolerate a brief vacancy and to put money into the units (repainting, repairs, staging, etc) to get top dollar. As a result i believe that rents accelerated faster than they would have otherwise.

    Underwriting a new PBR building became easier at these higher rents, all other things being equal. I believe this benefit is very short lived and short sighted. The reality, IMO, is that society has to recognize that they’re in bed with developers if they want housing built, and that building housing is the only way out. Unfortunately, most people would rather sever a limb than knowingly help developers.

    1. Kyle

      at 3:26 pm

      “The reality, IMO, is that society has to recognize that they’re in bed with developers if they want housing built, and that building housing is the only way out.”

      This is so true, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The City’s Planning Department, LTA, fire regs and all the other hoops that landlords are forced to jump through make it such a huge burden for anyone other than Developers to undertake adding new supply.

      If they made it easier for home owners to add legal secondary suites, and balanced the grossly lop-sided LTA rules, i could see a tonne of new supply, even if rent controls remained.

      I don’t actually think most home owners are worried about limiting the amount they could raise rents by. It’s all the other things that prevent more home owners from becoming would-be landlords, IMO.

      1. daniel

        at 10:08 am

        ahhh, the magical missing middle housing supply. I’m 100% supportive of liberalizing rules around this, however, i don’t think it’s anywhere near adequate to address our supply issue. Seems like the lowest consensus number in terms of required supply is 10,000 additional units per year. Two things to note – that’s 10k additional to the ~30k already being supplied and that is the additional supply required just to address population growth each year and does not factor in the supply we’d need to raise the vacancy rate to somewhere between 3-5%. Getting the vacancy rate up, not merely just addressing add’l demand, is key to getting real gains on affordability. When you think about this quantum of housing supply i think that it becomes clear that basement apts, duplexes, laneway suites, etc are entirely inadequate to address the situation. 40,000 units per year is 133, 300 unit towers. Given that they take 4 years to built, it means having over 500 towers under construction at all times. I think maybe we could get 500 units per year out of the smaller scale projects. Maybe 1000. Either way, while helpful, those solutions do not remove the need to intensify with larger scale projects.

      2. daniel

        at 10:21 am

        also, in many central locations in toronto the trend has been to lowering supply in single family neighbourhoods. I live in the annex and every multi-unit building that comes up for sale gets reno’ed back to a single family home. I see this trend in trinity bellwoods, wychwood, bloor west, roncy, etc.

        So, even where a unit has jumped through the hoops, people who can afford this real estate would generally rather have the extra space to themselves than the extra revenue.

        To be clear, i do support improvement in the process to make this work. I think fire code, etc can be left as is. Real trick is to make all the zoning as of right so that you at least have certainty that you’ll succeed when you start out.

        1. Kyle

          at 1:24 pm

          I agree with you 100%. The only way rent will ever get more affordable is by increasing supply. And the more they do to unlock supply the better, though none of these alone will be enough, arguably all of these things together won’t be enough.

          Whether that be giving home owners getting as of right zoning, Developers getting comfort that one of their key model assumptions won’t get nullified, or making the LTA rules less lop-sided. The solution is supply not price controls.

        2. Kyle

          at 1:43 pm

          Question for you daniel – If the LTA rules were made more fair towards landlords (i.e. There was more comfort that one could have some control over turnover) what would that do to the proforma, would that tilt it enough to make up for rent controls?

          The reason i ask, is maybe the real inhibitor of affordability isn’t rent controls (though i would say rent controls certainly don’t help in the long run), maybe the true inhibitor to affordability are the LTA rules.


          1. Daniel b

            at 11:03 pm

            I think the Tribunal is more of a problem for smaller landlords. You get a problem tenant in your 3 unit building then it’s a third of your investment and a lot of your time. You own 10,000 units and the problem tenants are a small fraction of your units and you pay someone to do all your tribunal hearings for you. Fundamentally I think the tribunal is hardest on other tenants. Makes evicting problem tenants harder and although they’re unpleasant as tenants, they’re much more unpleasant as neighbours. Further, potential difficulties with tenants makes landlords more conservative (and racist and classist) in their tenant selection process.

    2. Kyle

      at 4:05 pm

      I disagree that questioning is weaselly. Questioning is the basis of all science.

      Once upon a time everyone simply agreed that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Some people questioned that, they said, “well if that hot thing in the sky revolves around us, then why do we have different seasons?” At the time there wasn’t any conclusive evidence (i.e. the kind i think you’re expecting instead of unanswerable questions) that proved the Earth in fact revolves around the Sun, until centuries later.

      1. Kyle

        at 4:07 pm

        Ah crap, posted the above comment in the wrong blog post.

  15. steve

    at 9:43 pm

    I might be wrong, but renting has more recently been seen as transitional housing, and people are expected to move more often than owners. When someone moves, the landlord can raise rent to suit the latest market conditions. This is a reasonable trade-off. Of course, many tenants can stay longer, and then be subjected to annual inflation adjusted increases. Over time, those do add up!

    Current rents downtown have really spiked, and finding a reasonably priced unit has become a real challenge. Many of my friends with good paying jobs are struggling over housing issues.

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