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Jessica Barrett’s article in the Courier explores the long list of shortcomings in government policy to protect renters. We’re taught as children that the 3 essentials of life are food, shelter and clothing; clothing isn’t much of a problem, but can you imagine a society where food is speculated upon to the degree that shelter is currently here? There would be riots in the street.

When you live long enough, everything seems to come ’round again. The rental crisis of 1973, with a vacancy rate of about 1/5th of a percent, seems impossibly distant…

housing solution

… but triggered the creation of the Rentalsman’s office, residential tenancy legislation and, eventually, the MURB tax-shelter program of the federal government.

Why was there a rental crisis in 1973? The Strata-Title Act of 1966, which caused a wave of conversions of rental buildings into condos, to the point that the city put a moratorium on such conversions that year.

Why is there a rental crisis now? The Strata-Title Act, at least in the sense that condos are much more profitable to build than rental buildings. The Herb Auerbach article a few days ago stated that clearly. Solution? Probably the same as in 1973.