RENT CONTROL NOT THE ANSWER TO RISING COST OF HOUSING
The calls for rent control seem driven by an underlying assumption that these increases are driven by greedy and profiteering landlords, as opposed to being a byproduct of supply and demand factors. To better understand the situation in Calgary, there’s some valuable additional context to consider.
Furthermore, while this year’s average rent increase seems substantial, last year’s increase was less than three per cent and was preceded by a decline in the average monthly rent the previous two years. So did Calgary’s generous landlords suddenly get replaced by hordes of greedy property owners, or is something else going on?
If the problem is insufficient regulatory measures from the Alberta government, that fails to explain why this province is so affordable compared with the rest of the country. And If Calgary landlords are supposedly gouging renters due to Alberta’s laissez-faire approach, then why aren’t we seeing that in Edmonton?
Yes, matters related to rent control — or anything else under the purview of the Rental Tenancies Act — are provincial jurisdiction. But it’s absurd to think that municipal governments are powerless when it comes to housing issues.
For example, a recent study from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy showed that Edmonton has done a far better job than Calgary when it comes to the availability of low-cost rental units. The report’s author pointed to differences in land-use regulations and costs as a possible explanation.
Fortunately, Alberta’s Seniors, Community and Social Services Minister Jeremy Nixon rejected the idea of new rent control measures. He says the focus will continue to be on building more affordable units and providing direct support to those who need it.
There’s long been a consensus among economists about the harms of rent control, which was confirmed again in a report released last week from the U.S. National Apartment Association. It’s not what Alberta needs.
Story by: Calgary Herald