Letter to the Editor: Rising Residential Rental Rates?

Rental 40 Old Mill Apartment
Letter to the Editor: Rising Residential Rental Rates?
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Oakville is already one of the more expensive places to rent in the GTA. Your town council is currently debating implementing a new residential rental licensing by-law that could both drive up rents and reduce the supply of rental housing.

Under this proposal, no matter the type of rental property owned, a landlord will be on the hook for a licensing fee of several hundred dollars. For a three-bedroom townhouse, the first year fee will be $712, followed by annual renewals in excess of $400. Even a small two-bedroom condo will generate a fee of $542 in the first year alone. In addition to the fees, an onerous and expensive application process is proposed for all landlords, requiring, amongst other things: $2 million in liability insurance, a criminal records check, the preparation of various plans and drawings, and both an HVAC and an electrical inspection.

This burdensome and expensive process will no doubt deter some potential landlords from leasing out properties. For those properties remaining in the rental market, these costs will, in due course, be factored into rents, thus driving up housing costs. As Town staff said in their report on this matter, this by-law, “would have significant costs, which if based on full cost recovery, may affect social housing programs.” The law of unintended consequences, I suppose.

Town staff have only prepared this draft by-law (modelled on one in Waterloo) at the behest of Council. Staff recommended against such a by-law. In their report to Council, staff summarized the rental situation and found that, “The same pressure that was found in Waterloo does not exist in Oakville. There are fewer short-term rentals, registered rental units and by-law calls to low-rise rental units.” Why, then, is Council pressing forward on this?

Leased properties are already heavily regulated through provincial legislation, and the Town already has by-laws on the books to deal with property standards issues. A more reasonable solution to what staff have indicated is merely a minor issue is, as the staff report recommended, enhancing existing licensing and zoning regulations and developing a comprehensive outreach strategy to coerce compliance.

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This proposal is on the agenda for the November 6th Planning and Development Council meeting . Now is the time to contact your councillors and have your voice heard.

Bjorn Brown
Oakville

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Kirsten Campbell says:

    Thank you Bjorn for bringing this to the attention of Oakville residents and potential investors and Renters. The addition of this time consuming and costly measure will only make it more difficult and costly for people to rent in Oakville. I will be contacting my councillor on this topic for sure!
    Kirsten

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