Toronto city council has decided to defer its decision on legalizing rooming houses across the city one more time. Some of you may remember that this item went to council in the summer and was deferred to this fall. So now a new report is going to be drafted and the item will then make its way back to council sometime in the new year. Perhaps a decision will be made at that point. We will see.
This is an interesting debate for many reasons, one of which is its divisiveness. Shawn Micallef wrote a searing piece in the Toronto Star over the weekend talking about how city council is showing its contempt for renters in this city and how council’s inaction is both “insulting and cowardly.” Article, here (paywall).
At the same time, we know that many/most councillors don’t want this to happen. Which is why you get comments like this (taken from Micallef’s article): “…fundamentally what we need to talk about is what we don’t talk about enough at this council … homeowners’ rights. People who invest in this city and who live in stable residential neighbourhoods, the people that pay the taxes in this city.”
I have already shared my views on this topic in past posts, but these are annoying comments. I live in a multi-family building. I build multi-family buildings as my job. And my next home is already planned to be in a multi-family building. Does that make me a second class citizen because I don’t live in a “stable residential neighborhood?” Am I not adequately investing this city?
This bias has existed forever. I spent many years building rental housing as well as other forms of housing in all sorts of neighborhoods and rental housing was almost universally “feared” and opposed. (lower property values, higher crime, no respect for property and so on). despite the considerable evidence to the contrary (why let facts get in the way of a good objection). As you yourself know those who build the stuff also pay taxes and fees of all sorts.
One of the more fascinating things was that even in areas with considerable rental housing/rooming homes such as Parkdale (where rental properties are owned by those who pay property taxes of course) they objected to more of it. Yes everyone has rights whether they own a property or not and someone who owns something does not have the right to block the opportunity for housing for those who do not. The discussion of rights always seems so one sided including all the rights discussions about vaccinations and masking etc.
My rant for the morning