A resident’s comments.
As a resident of the City of Guelph living in the south end, I am concerned with the large percentage of free-standing residential property being converted to student lodging houses. The rate of conversion has accelerated alarmingly in recent years because of a lack of good investment opportunities for those with excess capital. Residential housing in the university area was not intended for this purpose. These properties were created to house families. This phenomenon is occurring also in several other university towns across the province.
The City of Guelph has proposed a licencing system to regulate rental accommodations. The original concept of licencing was recently put into place in London with several other municipalities following suit (e.g. Kitchener, Mississauga). Licencing is an effective method of regulating this activity. Indeed, the association representing London landlords unsuccessfully attempted to block their bylaw through the courts. We now know that licencing can be successfully introduced into Guelph without legal recourse from landlords. We simply need to design a proper bylaw that suits Guelph’s needs.
As a tax payer and home-owner, I demand that city council passes a rental licencing bylaw before the end of the year to regulate rental activities in low-density residential properties. The costs of enforcement can be covered by charging additional fees to renters. These fees can be minimized by providing random property inspections rather than cyclical inspections. There should be no grandfathering of existing rental properties. Fines for breach of bylaw should be substantial, including options for confiscation of property since there are no property rights in Canada. NB