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In the news this week is the Ottawa Tenants Conference on June 8th, 2013.

On the Conference website is some really interesting information that also might interest landlords.

Please note these are facts from a tenant organization.

Top 10 Tenant Facts in Ottawa

Number 1: How many tenants are there?

According to the latest Census data, tenants comprise 40% of Ottawa households.

Number 2: How much to tenants pay for property taxes?

Tenants pay 1.7% more in property taxes through their rents than homeowners of comparable units, even though tenants have approximately half the income.

Number 3: Are tenants being displaced?

Ottawa lost 143 units through demolitions in 2009. In early, 2010, approximately 200 tenants were permanently displaced due to a rash of fires.

Number 4: How many evictions are there?

There were more than 69,000 eviction applications filed at the Landlord and Tenant Board in 2008, mostly tenants struggling to pay unfair rents.

Number 5: What about rent control?

Rental units built after 1991 are exempt from rent control. Market rate units in social housing are also exempt from rent provisions.

Number 6: What about funding for tenant groups?

In the mid 1990’s, the Provincial Government cancelled funding to tenant advocacy groups. In Ottawa, the Federation of Ottawa Carleton Tenants’ Associations, The Ottawa Council of Low Income Support Services, and the Ottawa Tenant Council all lost funding.

Number 7: Are tenant voices heard?

Landlords are well organized through organizations such as the Ontario Landlords Association. Conversely, tenants have no formal structure to have their voices heard. This creates an imbalance during consultation processes.

Number 8: What about the vacancy rate?

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the local vacancy rate is 1.5 per cent. Analysts agree that a ‘healthy’ vacancy rate is 3 per cent. Without rent control on vacant units, landlords can charge whatever they want since tenants have less choice. It also gives landlords more incentive to evict tenants as a way to raise rents.

Number 9: Is new rental housing being built?

Since 1995, only 9% of new housing built was rental housing, but this doesn’t keep pace with the number of units lost through demolition, conversion, or renovations (see number 3).

Number 10: What about converting rentals to condos?

When the vacancy rate rises above 3% for two consecutive years, landlords can apply to have rental units converted to condominiums. During the period of 2004 and 2005, when the vacancy rate rose above 3 per cent, there were 681 conversions of rental units to condominiums.