Newstalk 1010: PCs lifting rent control on new builds after campaign promise to not take it away 'from anyone'

The Ontario Government says it is lifting rent control on new buildings, in an effort the finance minister says will open up the rental market.

The new measure applies to units "if no part of the building, mobile home park or land lease community, or no part of the addition, was occupied for residential purposes on or before November 15, 2018." Minister Vic Fedeli stressed the move only applies to "new builds." "To be very, very clear, existing buildings continue to have their rent controlled, this is for new builds and I would expect that buildings that are started fresh," he said.

The news comes after Premier Doug Ford promised during in May during campaigning that a Ford Government wouldn't take rent control away from anyone. "I have listened to the people, and I won’t take rent control away from anyone. Period,” Ford said May 15th. “When it comes to rent control, we’re going to maintain the status quo.”

Fedeli said Thursday the change was to open up supply. "Everybody who is an existing tenant today is protected," he said. "But the challenge for the future is there is no supply, once rent control was put in, the supply dried up." "So the number one thing a government can do to bring in new supply is to open the market."

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horvath slammed the decision and its reasoning. "You can't look anywhere out of any window in this buildling, never mind most of the buildings around the GTA these days, without seeing many, many cranes in the air," she said. "We're just going to guarantee that those developers can charge whatever price they want, but people are not going to be able to afford the units, they can't afford the units now."

ACORN Toronto called the decision atrocious and Mayor John Tory released a statement questioning the timing of the decision. "I am determined to do more, and to act quickly, so that people of all income levels and ages can afford to live here. I believe any such initiatives must precede any change to rent controls," he said. "The housing affordability issue in Toronto is too serious to consider relaxing rent controls before increasing supply."

Article by Lucas Meyer for Newstalk 1010