I’ve been talking a lot lately about affordable housing. I agree wholeheartedly in Gail’s comments on the subject in my previous post. With one exception leave the government at all levels out of it as much as possible. I have seen with my own eyes the blight that covered almost a third of the UK’s housing stock in the name of “council housing”. Which was very successfully eased back to a more reasonable 10% by Margaret Thatcher who legislated the sale of council houses to their tenants in the 80’s at around 50% of the value of the property’s. And in 5 short years made Britain one of the highest percentage of home ownership in the western world. Council estates in the UK are basically dirty run down ghettos with high crime rates and unemployment.
Back to Collingwood. Governments at all levels are not going to start building rental accommodation anytime soon. So that leaves it up to people like me to fill the void. Let’s assume that this current ProvLib government is not going to ease up on the provincial tenancy act, which is vastly skewed in favour of the renter over the landlord.
I believe that a local housing authority should be set up on a private/public not for profit basis. Maybe utilizing the existing “Access to Housing” or the “Housing Resource Centre” or something completely new. Landlords and tenants can register themselves, pay a fee and be equal partners in a symbiotic relationship. Tenants and Landlords have to be accepted and go through an application process to be part of this registry. Landlords properties have to be inspected for building and safety standards, infractions are noted and landlords are given a time frame to get any issues fixed. This inspection process could be picked up by the local municipality building department. Tenants have to be vetted for being previously good tenants by having checkable references as to whether they paid rent on time (or at all) without loud noisy parties and left previous rentals in a clean and tidy state. Any infractions on either side can lead to either landlord or tenant being removed from this registry making it impossible for either side to be part of a fair balanced rental process. Anyone outside this system is on their own, leaving bad landlords and bad tenants to their own devices. They can deal with each other; crappy tenants living in crappy landlords properties.
Call me old fashioned, but nothing is more important than a roof over your head. On both sides of this equation we have plenty of bad actors. On the landlord side, properties that are dirty, run down and not meeting any building or fire regulations. On the tenant side renters that always seem to have enough money for beer, smokes and dope but no money for rent and live like complete pigs. So basically what I am saying is let’s have an local organization with some teeth that has resources for landlords to be able to effectively remove delinquent renters. And gives decent renters somewhere locally to go to get landlords to take care of problems with rental properties.
I would gladly be a part of the above system as a landlord. I would be willing to pay one months rent per unit per year to be registered with this type of system, believe me that would be cheaper than dealing with some of the crap I have dealt with over the years. Renters pay a finders fee of half a months rent on the signing of a lease and pay a registration fee when they join. I suggest if we had a system like the above more private citizens and investors would step up and buy houses to rent for investment purposes.
This libertarian fiscal conservative would like to see private enterprise take the reins of this problem and solve it with a little government backing and help. Nanny state politics and politicians have got us to a place where there is a 0.7 rental vacancy rate in the area. maybe its time to try something different.