for The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Bidding wars for some homes along with prices in the market have been skyrocketing in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
According to Jessica Barbuto, the Manager of Housing Services at North House (NH) in Uxbridge, the current housing market has created a negative ripple effect for rental tenants. “So [landlords] are jumping on the bandwagon and selling their properties,” she explained. “Which [has] resulted in many people being evicted.” Adding, “It’s not necessarily about the tenants, but, rather, trying to get the biggest bang for their buck, given what we’re working with today in the market.”
Some families are witnessing this issue first-hand. Lisa and her family, local residents of North Durham, were guaranteed five years in their current rental home when they moved in three years ago.
On May 23rd, Lisa’s landlord said they were moving back into the house to start their own family.
Four days later, the landlord said they would be listing the house as an investment home with tenants in the home. And, as of May 2022, the new landlord is allowed to raise the rent or evict Lisa and her family if they choose to.
Afterward, the landlord’s paralegal sent the family an email. The landlord asked Lisa and her family to go to a hotel, at their cost, so the real estate agent could do showings of the home.
When the landlord listed Lisa’s home, they included, it came with everything inside the home. Yet, Lisa said they own the appliances inside the home. Their landlord refused to remove this in the listing.
“My family is a stressed-out mess over this, [it’s] very unfair,” said Lisa. According to Lisa, they have unsuccessfully searched, as far as Peterborough, to find an affordable rental home.
According to Ms. Barbuto, the housing market in North Durham is almost at a complete standstill, when it comes to an affordable unit.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the already low supply of rental housing in our local area,” said Tanya Latreille, a Broker for Puckrin & Latreille Real Estate. She added, the need for housing has increased in North Durham because more people are working from home. For this same reason, more people have a desire for “more space and less congestion.”
The rent control act set by the Ontario Government is no longer in place, and landlords of new tenancies can set tenancy rates at whatever prices they choose. For example, what used to be a $500 bedroom rental in a house is currently going for approximately $700 to $900.
According to Ms. Barbuto, this example showcases an inflation in cost, which is what the staff at North House are seeing across North Durham.
“It’s making housing inaccessible for low-income individuals,” she said. “Housing is a right, and it’s becoming, so people are not able to live on their own.”
She added, this is especially true for people receiving of Ontario Works or of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). “We always try to find out-of-the-box solutions,” said Ms. Barbuto.