We all know breaking into the housing market is getting more and more difficult. However, affording the rising cost of rent in Toronto is also becoming more and more difficult. This is a real problem in Toronto. We are living in a city that does not have enough rental housing, and this drives the price of rent upwards. How can Toronto make the city more affordable? How can we address the rising cost of rent in the city? Here are 7 possibilities.
- Raise awareness
This is a necessary first step. We need to make this a top priority for Torontonians. Sure, renters know that the cost of renting here is insane, but city councillors need to know that this issue is at the forefront of Toronto’s concerns, too. If the issue isn’t raised nothing will be done.
- Tax incentives
The municipal government could provide property tax breaks for property developers and contractors who opt to build rental housing. Most developers build geared-to-owners condos because they provide a short investment turnaround and fast cash, particularly in a city that places a great deal of importance on being an owner, not a renter. If tax breaks are given to developers, there would be more incentive for them to build rental housing – something we desperately need.
- End the praise of homeownership
So many of us grew up to parents who assured us homeownership is the only way to go. In Toronto there is a huge emphasis placed upon being a homeowner, but it the best option for everyone. We need to seriously reconsider our views on homeownership versus renting. With renting, you get to skip dishing out on a huge down payment, you have more flexibility, no property taxes to pay and no maintenance costs. If there is a change in attitude towards renting, there will be more incentive to create more rental housing.
- Subsidies for landlords
Another way to increase rental housing is to offer government subsidies to those landlords who choose to rent their properties (in part or in whole).
- Rent control
Rent control is an excellent alternative that’s been implemented in cities around the world. Limits could be placed on rental rates to stop the ever-increasing rise in prices. This could be dictated by the municipal government and determined by various factors such as location, square footage, amenities, etc.
- Subsidized rental housing
If the rise in rent isn’t curtailed, another option would be to subsidize rent. The city would use tax dollars (ironically provided, in part, by homeowners) to reduce the burden of rental prices. Good luck? Yeah, we know.
- Lower the cost of living
Inflation is to blame for a lot of struggles our generation faces, most notably the cost of living in Toronto. While it can’t be done overnight, lowering the cost of living needs including the cost of construction, would go a long way toward making living in Toronto a whole lot easier – not just for renters, but just for everyone. As it stands, the cost of living is ourpacing wages, and the cost of building is astronomical. Addressing the cost of living and building is at the core of the problem faced by Toronto and North America’s most expensive cities, like New York, Vancouver and LA, and requires a huge amount of governmental control at the federal and provincial levels.
Got your own solutions for the huge cost of rent in TO? Share them below.