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Ask the Expert: Is help on the way for those paying rent?

Written by
Written by
Best Selling Author

Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for Canadians. He is also a licensed Mortgage Broker in the Toronto area.

Sean Cooper

Rent prices are high and not just in large cities anymore, across Canada. The government has put measures in place to help. Heather, our reader, is wondering if those measures will actually help. Housing expert, Sean Cooper, sheds some light.

The question

It’s coming to the point where I’m wondering how I’m going to continue to pay rent. Prices have stretched my budget really thin. Will the changes in the government Housing Plan actually help?

Heather, S. Edmonton, AB

The answer

Dear Heather,

Thank you for your question. Rising rent prices have indeed become a significant concern for many renters. The government’s Housing Plan aims to address these issues, but its effectiveness in providing relief depends on several factors.

The current rental market landscape

The rental market has seen significant changes over the past decade. Average rent prices for apartments, condos, and houses have increased substantially, making it challenging for many to afford housing. A variety of factors contribute to this situation, including high demand, limited supply, and rising property values driven by both domestic and international investments.

Government Housing Plan: Key components

The government’s Housing Plan incorporates several strategies to stabilize rent prices and increase the availability of affordable housing. These include:

1. Increasing supply of rental housing

The plan emphasizes the construction of new rental housing units, including rental apartments and condos. By increasing the supply, the government aims to balance the market, thereby potentially reducing average rent prices. These new constructions often come with incentives for developers, such as tax breaks and subsidies.

2. Regulating rent increases

Another component involves stricter regulations on rent increases. By capping the percentage by which rent can be increased annually, tenants are protected from sudden and unaffordable hikes.

3. Supporting low-income renters

Subsidies and housing vouchers for low-income families are a critical part of the plan. These subsidies help bridge the gap between what households can afford and the actual rent prices, making housing more accessible to a broader demographic.

Impact on average rent

Increasing the supply of rental housing should theoretically help to lower average rent prices. When more rental apartments and condos enter the market, competition among landlords may drive prices down or at least stabilize them. This is particularly beneficial in high-demand areas where rental prices have soared.

Capital gains tax and real estate investment

One aspect of the Housing Plan that affects landlords and investors is the adjustment in capital gains tax related to property sales. When rental properties or houses are sold, the profit made is subject to capital gains tax. The plan proposes increasing this tax to discourage speculative investments, which often drive up property prices. 

By taxing capital gains more heavily, the government aims to curb excessive real estate speculation. This should, in theory, make it less attractive for investors to purchase properties solely for short-term gains, potentially easing property prices and thus rental prices.

Property management and community infrastructure

Improving property management practices is another focus. Ensuring that rental properties are well-maintained and managed efficiently can enhance the living conditions for tenants, making rental housing more desirable and sustainable in the long term.

The development of community centres and other infrastructure projects is also part of the plan. These developments can increase the appeal of rental housing in certain areas, promoting community engagement and potentially stabilizing rental markets by making various neighbourhoods more attractive.

Principal residence and rental income

For homeowners who rent out parts of their principal residence, the Housing Plan includes measures to clarify the tax implications and incentives. This could make it easier for homeowners to rent out spaces, increasing the rental supply without significant new construction.

Challenges and considerations

Despite these measures, several challenges could impact the plan’s success. For instance, building new housing takes time, and immediate relief may not be forthcoming. Additionally, the effectiveness of rent regulation depends on enforcement and the ability of landlords to comply without compromising on property maintenance.

Practical steps for renters

While waiting for these policies to take full effect, here are some steps you can take to manage your rental situation:

1. Explore diverse housing options

Look beyond traditional apartments for rent. Condos rent and even parts of detached houses may offer more affordable or desirable options. Sometimes, single-family homes rented by multiple tenants can be more economical.

2. Negotiate with landlords

Open communication with your landlord can sometimes result in more manageable rent increases. Propose long-term leases or offer to handle minor maintenance tasks in exchange for rent stability. Your landlord will appreciate gestures like this. If you have a skill in the trades, by bartering, you can help save on rent.

3. Utilize online tools

Use tools like the GST calculator to understand the full cost of your rental expenses, including any applicable taxes. This can help you budget more effectively. That way you’ll have more money left at the end of the month.

4. Consider secondary income sources

If feasible, consider renting out a portion of your space or looking into car rental services as an additional income stream. This extra income can help offset your rental costs.

Long-term outlook

The government’s Housing Plan has the potential to provide significant relief to renters by addressing both supply and affordability issues. However, its success will depend on effective implementation and the cooperation of various stakeholders, including realtors, property management companies, and investors.

As the Housing Plan progresses, staying informed about changes in real estate policies, rental regulations, and market trends will be crucial. Keep an eye on updates from reliable sources and consider consulting with a realtor for personalized advice on navigating the rental market.


In conclusion, while the government’s Housing Plan holds promise for stabilizing and potentially reducing rent prices, its impact will take time to materialize. By increasing the supply of rental housing, regulating rent increases, and supporting low-income renters, the plan aims to create a more balanced and affordable rental market. Meanwhile, as a renter, exploring diverse housing options, negotiating with landlords, utilizing budgeting tools, and considering additional income sources can help you manage your rental expenses more effectively.

Stay proactive and informed to navigate these challenging times. The measures outlined in the Housing Plan are a step in the right direction, but personal strategies and community support will also play vital roles in ensuring housing affordability.

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