Dismal rental market in Guelph creating new income opportunities for homeowners
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR GUELPH TODAY, OCTOBER 16, 2019
2019 saw the highest average sales price ever for homes in Guelph’s real estate market for September, increasing nearly 5% versus 2018. This, contributing to an overall dollar volume (adding all sales together) hike of just over 12% in 2019.
With rising housing prices in Guelph, more and more people are either forced to rent or have made the decision to rent in the Royal City. Renting is not a bad option - many believe the benefits of homeownership are outweighed by high costs associated with maintaining a home. Renting also provides a more flexible lifestyle for those who travel or are looking for the ideal neighbourhood before purchasing.
However, limited options and rental prices are creating challenges for those who want to rent.
A recent report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reveals that a person would need to earn at least $21 per hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Guelph. Meeting this requirement can be difficult for many, including small and single-parent families.
Even students are feeling the pinch.
A quick search of rental units on thecannon.ca, a site co-owned by the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-operative resulted in room rates ranging anywhere from $550-$750 for a single room, which may or may not include a separate kitchen or entrance. This can cause further stress on students who need to work to afford their housing while studying, or on many parents who are paying the bills.
According to the Guelph CMHC rental market report, Guelph’s vacancy rate of 1.4% is almost half of the national average of 2.4%. The draw of the university, a strong local job market and proximity to Toronto is putting pressure on both Guelph homebuyers and renters alike.
So, what do we do?
In existing homes, to address a lean rental market, homeowners can consider creating an accessory apartment if they have extra space. This could provide both additional income to help pay a mortgage while increasing the rental housing stock in Guelph.
Accessory apartments are permitted in most single-detached and semi-detached homes zoned as residential single detached (R1), and residential semi-detached /duplex, provided parking regulations can be met (R2).
To be considered legal, an accessory apartment must be inspected and registered by the city as a two-unit house, meeting requirements of the City of Guelph Zoning By-Law and either the Ontario Building Code or the Ontario Fire Code, as determined by City of Guelph Building Services.
A note for renters
If you are considering renting a home in Guelph, it’s your right to live in a safe space. Some questions you should consider asking your landlord include:
-Do you have working smoke alarms on every level and outside every sleeping area? Note: Houses built after 2013 must also have a smoke alarm on every level
-Do you have working carbon monoxide alarms installed (if applicable)?Do you have two safe ways to get out of the unit in case of a fire?
-If you or your housemate(s) sleep in the basement: Is there a big enough window or door leading directly outside so you can get out in case of a fire?
-If your building has more than four bedrooms sharing one kitchen is it certified with the City?If your building has two separate kitchens is it registered with the City?
-The Guelph housing market will thrive if there is both a healthy stock of owned and rental housing available to meet everyone’s needs. Accessory apartments are a creative solution that existing homeowners can consider to support the rental market while earning additional income.