Once again my spongee game has been post-poned, this time because of blowing snow, so I have a chance to follow-up on a couple of subjects:
***Reminder, the 2nd Annual Afghan Film Festival & Mini Market is this Saturday.
I really wasn't planning on writing anything more about rent controls, because it's really not a subject I'm all that passionate about. I haven't rented for over 5 years, and the last time I rented I had the laziest landlord in the city who never bothered to increase my rent by any amount.
But, alas, I am compelled to give an update on the rent control issue because fellow blogger and media insider Miss Martin made me aware of a new position paper released by the Winnipeg Realtors org. You can find the paper here.
I do not have time to go into the kind of detail that I did with my previous posts, but you probably won't be surprised to find out that it arrives at different conclusions than the government comissioned paper by Prof. Hugh Grant did. In fact, it points to rent controls and what it calls a "cumbersome and unbalanced Residential Tenancies Act" as the main culprits behind the low vacancy rate.
What became abundantly clear in meeting a number of the REIN (Real Estate Investment Network) members was how reluctant they are to consider Winnipeg as an investment opportunity, knowing that their private capital will fall under a rent control regime.There's an idea. Want to know why developers aren't building apartments? Talk to the people holding the chequebooks!
The paper does not recommend getting rid of rent controls entirely (perhaps knowing it would be politically unfeasible) but it does recommend implementing "softer" rent controls, as can be found in some other provinces.
The Ontario experience of softening rent controls in 1998 has resulted in steadily growing new rental construction. ... CMHC has reported that Toronto vacancy rates went from .8 per cent under a system of rent controls similar to Manitoba’s in 1997 to 3.8 per cent in 2003. They still remain much higher than Winnipeg’s at 3.1 per cent in 2009 and 2.1 per cent in 2010.It also recommends reforming the Residential Tenancies Act and other regulations, implemeting portable shelter allowances to assist low income renters, and jump-starting construction with development incentives.
Keeping in mind that Winnipeg Realtors may not be an unbiased organization, there is a lot of common sense in there. Not much in the way of number crunching though. I still wouldn't mind finding something unbiased with more statistical analysis, but for now I might just put this puppy hibernation.