Renters deserve adequate protection from housing risk

With ever-growing prices pushing more and more Canadians out of the single-family home segment, renting has become an increasingly popular choice in the hottest markets, a development that the government should begin responding to in earnest.

Vancouver-based advocacy group Generation Squeeze is calling for regulatory changes that would grant tenants as much long-term security as home owners.

Among the most important issues is supply, thus the need to develop more purpose-built, affordable rental housing.

In its analysis of September data from Statistics Canada, real estate information portal Point2 Homes reported that the home ownership ratio nationwide fell for the first time in nearly 50 years, shrinking by 1.2% between 2011 and 2016 to reach 67.8%.

Read more: Rental demand to boost further apartment construction – CMHC

A boosted rental inventory would give more Canadians the opportunity to enjoy the unique benefits of renting, according to Housing Matters founder Chris Spoke.

“When you think about things like labour mobility, being flexible enough to move to where the opportunity is, you’re less tied down. That’s something that you see as we extoll the virtues and benefits of home ownership — you do see less labour mobility and less flexibility on these fronts than societies that have higher rental rates,” he told the Toronto Star.

University of British Columbia professor and Generation Squeeze head Paul Kershaw stressed that it’s high time to do away with the culture that sees ownership as the mark of a fiscally responsible adult.

“It became a sign of adulthood — you left the nest, you’ve got your own space and there’s some autonomy that comes with home ownership,” Kershaw stated.

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