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  • Writer's pictureKRPOA

Kingston Landlords Should be Concerned

*Excerpt from Chris Seepe regarding the province's Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster, and the recent grant of Strong Mayoral Powers both of which may notably impact you as small-to-medium housing providers.*

Context: City of Oshawa is submitting a “Proposed Policy Options for the Residential Rental Housing Licensing Program and Other Rental Housing Regulatory Considerations.” This subject report that was submitted to the Safety and Facilities Services Committee is missing significant impact analysis in order for committee members to make a fully informed decision.

Why it matters: This proposed legislation is close to home and moving East for Kingston. If it succeeds in Oshawa, it will not be long before Kingston has to face the same “brutal draconian by-law legislation.” See below for impacts.

- Lost Property Tax Revenue

- Lack of Housing

- Homelessness

- Overcrowding

- Economic hardship

- Crime

- Poverty

- Social inequality

- Housing tenure and insecurity

- Environmental impact

- Mental health

- Physical safety

- Strained public resources

Relevance: All of the above points are direct consequences of trading off the perceived advantages of property standards licensing at the expense of the longer-term impacts and consequences that licensing will have on housing availability and affordability, city revenues versus increased expenses, reduction of private rental property investor living and retirement income, and increased living expenses and consequent reduced net incomes of citizens.

Establishing a licensing regimen assumes that housing providers are to blame for the perceived shortfalls in rental property standards, which is not true. While slumlords certainly fall into, or even define, this stereotype, slumlords represent only a fractional percentage of the total rental housing inventory. The alleged degradation of property standards is a symptom of the much greater and infinitely more important housing unaffordability and unavailability crisis.

Licensing does not address or relieve the many crushing causes and consequences on property standards that are collectively beyond the control of any housing provider. Licensing exacerbates the housing crisis and will cause rental housing inventory shrinkage. Any perceived gains in property standards will be trivial by comparison to the negative impacts the licensing program will have, not only on housing, but also on the significant consequences to the municipality.

The subject report cited many objections as well as numerous alterative options to licensing, but the City staff’s report didn’t address any of those objections or discuss the merits and disadvantages of any of the proposed alternate solutions to property standards issues. Instead, they elected to provide only four variations all intended to expand licensing. The cost of the licensing program could be inconsequential versus the potential revenue loss and increased operating costs the City would incur from the many consequences cited in this submission. The licensing proposal appears to be in direct conflict with, and contrary to the intentions of, several of the major objectives of Ontario’s Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022

For more in depth reading, check out Chris Seepe’s actual report for further considerations:


Article adapted by Colin Watts

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