(Toronto, ON – November 21, 2019) – Governments need to work together to prioritize the construction of new rental housing to meet the growing demand of renters according to Tony Irwin, President and CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO), who participated in the Urban Land Institute’s panel: Rental Housing First Choice, Not Last Resort today.
Moderated by the Toronto Star’s Tess Kalinowski, Irwin was joined by:
- Shaun Hildebrand, President of Urbanation
- Cary J. Green, Chairman of Greenwin
- Paula Munger, AVP, Industry Research & Analysis, U.S. National Apartment Association
- Cordelia Clarke Julien, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
The perception of rental housing in Ontario is deeply entrenched. Traditionally seen as an option intended for people who can’t afford to buy a home, policymakers and consumers have long de-prioritized rental housing. Yet there are strong signs of a desire for change, especially in urban Ontario.
“Many people today are choosing to rent, whether it be a financial choice, to maintain a high quality of life, live closer to where they work, or to downsize. It is no longer just a stepping stone, but a viable, first-choice long-term housing option,” said Tony Irwin, President and CEO of FRPO.
Ontario lags behind, with a planning regime and rental housing options that don’t reflect this changing landscape and evolving consumer focus. Despite the number of condominium rentals, which cover about a third of all rentals in Ontario, it is not enough. Planning and policy need to reflect what people want and need, as demand soars amongst all demographics.
FRPO applauds the Ontario government for reinstating the rent control exemption for new construction and introducing other policy changes that have directly contributed to new applications of rental units. Additional changes are needed from the federal and municipal governments to ensure supply will meet demand.
“If supply is to meet demand, municipal governments need to expedite land approvals, and find sites that can be leveraged to build additional towers,” said Irwin. “The newly elected federal government should look at changes such as allowing rental housing to qualify for small business tax treatment, and eliminating the GST/HST on rental housing operations.”
The panelists addressed the full spectrum of supply alternatives, from purpose-built high-rise rental to mid-rise, infill, mixed use and as-of-right rental within existing single-family homes – options that for too long have been circumscribed by planning rules and homeowner resistance.
FRPO is the province’s leading advocate for quality rental housing. FRPO represents over 2,200 rental housing providers who supply and manage homes for over 350,000 tenant households across Ontario. Learn more about us at www.frpo.org or @FRPOFACTS on Twitter.
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