The rental housing market in Canada is shameful. It is a poverty inducing, misery making machine that is knowingly wrecking more peoples lives than it improves yet it continues to get worse every year. The detailed reasons for this are many, varied and complex but they can all be quite simply distilled down to the good old evil of unabated greed.
Rental properties were once a mutually beneficial arrangement and a place where you lived while you saved the money for a down payment in order to get on the property ladder. They were not significantly cheaper than owning your own home especially considering maintenance costs etc but they were still cheaper. The Landlord would benefit as they ended up paying significantly less for the property than its original market value and if the market went up in that time they were even better off. The tenant got to live a well maintained, stable home and save up to get on the property ladder so that one day, maybe, just maybe they can actually benefit from something in Capitalism. It was a good system, it didn’t work out for both or either party every single time of course but on the whole there was mutual benefit.
Somewhere along the line this turned into a way for retired Boomers to buy themselves hundreds of houses on credit, disappear off to the Baja and hire some Letting Agent to keep increasing their passive income. This can also be described as a financial and social abuse.
It all began around 2008 with the advent of the “financial crisis” (aka the global stock market smash and grab) when low level financial advisors in banks all across Canada started inviting retired customers into the office to explain how they could buy houses to rent out with hardly any down payment and very attractive mortgage plans based upon their retirement capital. It was a successful pitch and people started to make money so others copied them. Then along came Airbnb and the Boomers kids all started buying up multiple houses and only using them for vacation rentals.
Now jump forwards a decade or so and here we are with tens of thousands of people playing at being landlord when really they are nothing more than ordinary home owners paranoid about their investment that want to spend as little as possible on it, don’t trust their tenants and generally harass every last cent they can possibly get out of them with very little chance of that tenant ever seeing their security deposit again no matter how respectful a tenant they were.
This has the effect of making a whole generation of people (Boomers grandkids) struggle to pay rent, struggle to move house, struggle to save and struggle to just live a life that isn’t entirely based upon feeding the Baja Boomer Clan.
Have you SEEN the Vancouver or Toronto housing market recently? The only word that comes close to describing it is perverse. There are literally Doctors and Lawyers there that cannot afford to get on the property ladder and the situation of the less well paid is atrocious. It is disgusting and should have been properly legislated against long ago, there have been some lame attempts at regulation and tax law reform to combat it but as ever, these changes turned out to be easily worked around by the usual suspect. What a surprise hey?
Couple this with the usually uninterested, bureaucratic or otherwise dismissive behavior of whatever official housing authority has been made responsible for their province’s rental housing regulation and you have a whole generational demographic of people that are basically rent slaves.
We, as Canada can and should do better than this.
So… in the best spirit of offering solutions along with complaining about problems we have created this project to see if we can generate a searchable, publicly available digital resource for prospective tenants to investigate the management of the property they are thinking of renting. This is done in the hope that over time, simple people power, information and market forces will gradually empower the good landlords and squeeze out the more parasitic “landlords” as they will struggle to find tenants.