Saturday, 16 December 2017

Canadian Rental Resources Greatly Improved

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 04 May 2004 00:00

Low interest rates may currently be transforming greater numbers of tenants into home buyers, but Statistics Canada reports that the proportion of Canadians renting their homes has changed little over the decades.

Generally, when household income increases, there is a transition in tenure, or the legal relationship with property, from renting to home ownership. However, lifestyle influences the tenure decision. Some Canadians, who can afford to buy, may rent to avoid home maintenance responsibilities or to wait out a booming real estate market.

Renting is more common in urban areas partly because housing prices are lower in rural areas. Urbanization has resulted in a growth in high-density rental housing such as high-rise apartment buildings and low-rise developments.

Over the past decades, Quebec has consistently had the highest proportion of renters, while Newfoundland has had the lowest. The other three Atlantic provinces, as well as Saskatchewan also had relatively low proportions of households renting.

Apartment availability -- measured as vacancy rates -- has not increased dramatically in urban areas like Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa-Hull, Toronto and Hamilton. Persistently low vacancy rates indicate that developers are not increasing the supply of rental housing, despite high demand. According to CMHC's Starts and Completions Survey, apartment construction was much lower in 1993 (40,000 starts) than in 1971 (106,000 starts). A variety of factors influence rental housing construction including interest rates and rising construction costs.

Improved Rental Resources

If you are exploring rental housing -- either as a renter, landlord or investor -- there are many resources and organizations to help you understand what you're getting into:

  • Our federal housing agency Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers both free and for purchase information for tenants and landlords alike:

    1. The free online publication Your Guide to Renting a Home provides insight into the rental process, offering tenants and landlords an overview of their rights, responsibilities and available resources.

    2. If you are new to Canada, ordering the free Newcomer's Guide to Canadian Housing (revised 2003) may clarify Canadian practices, legalities and terminology.

    3. You can purchase CMHC's surveys of Rental Market Vacancy Rates and Rents for most major cities.

  • Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHFC). Information on both the Canada-wide federation and regional federations. General information about co-operative housing is also provided.

  • Legal Aid Offices across the country.

  • RentCanada . Promoting itself as "Canada's Internet Apartment Guide," this Web site lists provinces and cities, with information on property management firms and classifieds on the sub-pages for each region.

  • Income from Properties: Toolkit . This site offers a series of useful forms and information sheets for landlords, which are presented in PDF format. The information seems very useful, but landlords should ensure that forms such as the rental application form conform to their province's legal requirements.

  • Canada Apartment Listings is one guide to apartment search sites, apartment listings and tips for finding an apartment in Canada.
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