Real estate news
With the provincial election approaching – now just under a week away – the lack of affordable housing is still a top concern for many Ontarians. As such, all major political parties have made housing a key point in their platforms, presenting various plans to solve the housing crisis in Ontario.
A recent report by the Ontario Real Estate Association found that “73% of Ontarians agree that making housing more affordable should be a priority for the Ontario government, with 84% saying one party’s ideas on resolving of the housing affordability crisis could be a significant factor. when deciding who to vote for on June 2.
READ: As the sides bicker, Ontario has already lost the housing battle
Although some plans appear to be unanimous among the parties, such as the need to build 1.5 million new homes and convert underutilized properties into homes, each side brought its own perspective on how best to ensure that housing remains affordable for Ontario residents. From reintroducing rent control to penalizing municipalities for slow processing of development applications, here’s what the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Green Party are promising on housing.
- Province-Wide Rent Control: The Liberals have pledged to repeal the current policy introduced by Premier Doug Ford in 2018 that exempts all rental units first occupied after November 15, 2018 from rent control.
- Build 1.5 million new homes over the next decade: This would include “truly affordable housing like new social and supportive housing for people who need it,” accomplished in part by redeveloping underutilized strip malls, land held for speculation, and available government properties.
- Create an Ontario Housing Corporation: He would finance and build new homes for sale to first time buyers. Any proceeds would be reinvested into creating more homes.
- Cut the bureaucracy: Introduce zoning reforms that would allow the construction as of right of houses up to three units and two stories.
- Unlock more provincial lands: Made by burying power transmission lines.
- Introduce a vacancy tax for urban areas: A 2% tax for vacant dwellings which will be increased on dwellings owned by non-Canadians.
- Prohibit new non-resident owners
- Introduce “use it or lose it” levies: This would impose taxes on developers sitting on serviced land who have approved building permits. The funds thus generated would be used to build more affordable housing.
- Regulate building inspectors: And make home inspections a legal right.
- Ensure buyers are reimbursed sooner for canceled housing projects: With significantly higher interest rates on lost deposits.
- Encourage municipalities to submit development and rezoning applications more quickly: With amendments to the Planning Act and the City of Toronto Act, municipalities would have to refund increasing portions of application fees if decisions are not made within a specified time frame.
- Changes to the Ontario Building Code to speed up the construction of homes: Including allowing 12-story log buildings, streamlining multi-unit building approvals, and possibly allowing low-rise multi-unit dwellings with only one means of egress.
- Occupy houses faster: By exploring the possibility of allowing earlier partial occupancy of the lower floors of very tall skyscrapers while they are still under construction
- Build 1.5 million new homes over the next decade: Achieved by increasing density in urban and rural areas
- Reducing Ontario Lands Tribunal and Landlord and Tenant Board backlogs: An investment of $19 million would be used to increase human and technological resources.
- Increased data sharing: Share projected demographics with municipalities so they can better respond to community needs, with a focus on recycling underutilized government-owned land.
- Expand non-resident speculation tax: Increase the tax to 20% and apply it province-wide.
- Increase fines for unethical behavior by developers and builders
READ: ‘We have a lot of work ahead of us’: Housing Minister Steve Clark on Ontario’s procurement challenges
- Introduce “actual rent control”: Provide rent control for all units in Ontario, as well as a guarantee that you will pay what the previous tenant paid.
- Closing rent control loopholes in Ontario: End vacancy deregulation, which allows landlords to raise rents beyond annual guidelines when the unit becomes vacant between tenants.
- Create a new rental assistance program: Expected to help 311,000 households, it would offer assistance to tenants who cannot afford to pay rent in addition to their other necessities.
- Introduce a provincial tax on speculation and vacancy: A 2% tax applied to foreign and domestic speculators who do not pay taxes in Ontario and who own homes in which they do not live.
- Create an equity loan program: To help fund down payments for first-time homebuyers with incomes under $200,000. Loan repayments would not be due until the owner sells or moves out.
- End exclusion zoning: Update zoning rules to allow for the construction of more affordable missing middle units such as duplexes, triplexes and townhouses.
- Build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years: Including starter homes, purpose-built rentals, affordable homes and supportive homes.
- Establish Housing Ontario: The program will fund and build at least 250,000 affordable, off-market rental units over the next 10 years, operated by public, non-profit and co-operative housing providers.
- Ending the backlog of cases at the Landlord and Tenant Board: And restore the right to an in-person hearing before council.
- Transfer property taxes to the very rich: Work with municipalities to shift more of the tax burden on properties over $2 million.
- Build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years: Including 100,000 new affordable rental units.
- Create more missing intermediate dwellings: By updating the Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement to allow a minimum of triplex and quadruplex construction as of right in all residential areas.
- Ending chronic homelessness: By building 60,000 supportive housing units.
- Restore rent control: By regulating year-to-year rent increases and introducing a ‘clear system’ for the types of renovations that can justify a rent increase.
- Updating the Residential Tenancies Act: Specifically sections focused on the state of repair to ensure tenants have safe homes.
- Providing housing supports to 311,000 Ontario households: Through a portable housing allowance that will also benefit tenants.
- Ending the Backlog of Landlord and Tenant Board Cases: By increasing funding to hire additional arbitrators.
- Create a provincial “Yes in my backyard” initiative: Work with municipalities to combat NIMBYism and change public attitudes against missing mid-rise, mid-rise and community housing developments.
- Embrace Transit-Oriented Development: Require minimum densities along transit corridors.
- Discourage sprawl and protect farmland: By freezing the limits of urban growth and expanding zoning as of right within urban boundaries.