Are landlords to blame for tenant financial woes?

by Grainne Burns08 Oct 2013

Homeowners may be fretting about the high cost of servicing mortgage debt, but spare a thought for the 20 per cent of tenants who are spending half of their income on helping to pay for those mortgages.

Around 30 per cent of household income is identified as the threshold that should  be spent on housing, however, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association say a quarter of renters are over that limit.

And now, a number of municipal leaders want Prime Minister Stephen Harper to step in and do something about it. They say the housing affordability situation is “putting our national economy at risk.”

Brendan Powell from The Brel Team told CREW there is very little that Harper can do, with the market naturally dictating rental rates. “This is not a unique situation to Canada. Yes, rents have gone up in urban markets but tenants choose to live in those areas, in those properties,” he says.

A number of cities, such as Kingston, are trying to ease the issue of affordability and supply by allowing homeowners to have secondary suites.

“This flexibility of rules and regulations by the various cities is really all that can be done to address the issue of supply and affordability,” says Powell. “At the end of the day, it is a business for landlords to maximize their return on investment. This should not be a blame game on landlords or anyone. It’s the market.”

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