Market forces severely impact needs of tenants

This panel has heard that some financial actors focus on purchasing rental housing units and managing these properties solely for short-term financial gain. The evidence showed that this practice, alongside the rapid loss of affordable rental housing and the long-term underinvestment in non-market housing can severely impact those tenants in most need.

As a result, the review panel is raising an urgent call to action, emphasizing how more must be done to protect the housing rights of tenants throughout the nation.

Panel's recommendations

Based on feedback from the 200 participants that contributed to the review, the panel recommends the following:

  • Incentivize the development of new affordable rental housing supply, particularly in the non-market sector
  • Actively protect existing affordable rental supply through a rental acquisitions program for non-market rental housing providers
  • Establish a comprehensive non-market rental housing plan to manage and distribute federal funding and lending to increase the supply of affordable non-market rental housing
  • Implement housing support for tenants facing housing precarity
  • Serve as a convenor to bring all actors to the table to identify national consensus standards for tenant protections

The Minister is required to respond to this report within 120 days and to table a response in Parliament within 30 days of sending it to the review panel.

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Do you think you can be a homeowner? Here are some considerations

For many Canadians, owning a home is the ultimate goal. If you're wondering whether or not you are a potential homeowner, consider the following:

  • If you're ready to settle down: If you’re not ready to put down roots and your long-term plans are in flux, then it would make more sense to rent an apartment, condo or house. If you’re thinking about travelling, going back to school or changing careers, hit pause on your plans for homeownership.
  • Whether you can afford all the costs associated with a house: If you’re unable to afford the mortgage payment and ongoing expenses that come with homeownership, renting is a more affordable option and makes fiscal sense in the short term for you. Affordability can also be affected by the debt you could have. Focus on paying off your student loans, credit cards, car loans or whatever else is bogging down your bank account.
  • Do you have the down payment?: If you don't have a down payment saved up, stick with renting, and instead, set up an automated savings plan to a high-interest TFSA account. One of the best TFSA account rates in Canada comes via EQ Bank, which currently offers 4.00% interest, tax-free, with no minimum account balances and no service fees (you just have to set up direct deposit with them).

Unexpected vet bills don’t have to break the bank

Life with pets is unpredictable, but there are ways to prepare for the unexpected.

Fetch Insurance offers coverage for treatment of accidents, illnesses, prescriptions drugs, emergency care and more.

Plus, their optional wellness plan covers things like routine vet trips, grooming and training costs, if you want to give your pet the all-star treatment while you protect your bank account.

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The 50/30/20 rule

Saving for a home can be cumbersome, so following a strict budget can help get you to where you need to be faster. To follow this rule, you need to spend 50% of your net income on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings and debt. You should allocate these percentages in after-tax dollars, which means you’ll need to calculate your after-tax income.

  • Needs: Groceries, mortgage and rent, insurance, utilities, car payment, gasoline
  • Wants: Shopping, entertainment, restaurants, hobbies, travel
  • Savings and debt: RRSP, TFSA and/or RESP contributions, emergency fund savings, extra debt repayment

Your after-tax income is the amount of money you take home after taxes, Canada Pension Plan, and Employment Insurance are deducted. If your employer deducts money for retirement contributions, include that in the savings section of your budget.

To help budget better, consider a budgeting app to get your finances in order. YNAB (You Need a Budget) is well known in the personal finance community for being one of the top budgeting apps available. It helps you stick to a budget by tracking your spending and working with you to set financial goals (pay down debt, buy a new car, and so on). YNAB connects with your bank and investment accounts to monitor your spending and financial moves to ensure that you stay on budget. Sign up for YNAB and set yourself on a path to better saving and spending habits.

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Nicholas completed his master's in journalism and communications at Western University. Since then, he's worked as a reporter at the Financial Post, Healthing.ca, Sustainable Biz Canada and more. Aside from reporting, he also has experience in web production, social media management, photography and video production. His work can also be found in the Toronto Star, Yahoo Finance Canada, Electric Autonomy Canada and Exclaim among others.

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