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Five voices on new rent control proposals

File photo of a For Rent sign.

With a recent spate of horror stories from tenants who’ve seen their rents suddenly spiked, the provincial government vowed on Thursday to expand rent control.

Rent control currently only applies to units built before November, 1991.

Under the new proposed rules, all private rental units would fall under annual rent increase guidelines.

Some economists argue that rent control will discourage developers from building new rental properties. To offset that, the government introduced a five-year, $125-million program to rebate a portion of development charges on new purpose-built rental properties in areas with low vacancy rates.

Here’s five different voices on the issue of rent control:

Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth:

“Particularly on the rent control, that’s something we’ve been raising for years. A lot of people have been hurt from them (Liberal government) not acting. We hope that the details actually give us what the people of Ontario need but we remain cautious … When we introduced this issue in the legislature recently we called for retroactivity and we didn’t hear anything about that this morning. There are a lot of people who will be in very tough shape looking at doubling of their rents if the government doesn’t act to put in retroactive provisions.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne:

“Our intention is that the measures that we are putting into place, including rent control, will help people who will not have to see those very high (rent) increases in the immediate future.”

Conservative MPP Ernie Hardeman, housing critic:

“As you heard in today’s announcement, it all starts today. So if they doubled the rent last week, in fact, from then on they can keep charging that rent … all these people that are paying 100 per cent increase, there was nothing in today’s announcement that’s going to roll that back.”

Jim Murphy, president and CEO, Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario:

“Nobody supports a doubling of the rents. It’s not acceptable … but the application of rent control will have a detrimental affect on all of these planned developments that our members want built … it’s going to mean less supply, which doesn’t benefit tenants.”

Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association:

“We think this is going to be good for tenants. We get thousands of calls on our hotline every year and a lot of people complaining about 100 per cent doubling of their rent … and we think that some of the changes being proposed today are really good. It’s going to bring everyone under the same system of rent control…”