Landlords take rental by-law to students

The proposed by-law on rental housing licensing and about the opposing group, Protecting Rental Options in Waterloo (PROW) have caught the attention of tenants throughtout Waterloo community in past weeks. But now the question is being asked, what about the students?

Gweneth Minaker, Mike Milovick and Zane Valani, three local property owners and members of PROW sat down with the Wilfrid Laurier University Student’s Union president Kyle Walker and policy research and advocacy coordinator Chris Hyde on Thursday to discuss the affect of the proposed by law on the student population.

Milovick suggested, “The bylaw is trying to control the students… at least 7, 000 rooms will be affected. Students will either be forced to move further away or seek out underground housing.”

Valani added that the proposed by law may subject students to a hazardous living environment.

“As long as there is a demand [for housing] someone will do it. But they might move underground which could create dangerous living conditions for students.”
However, Hyde is quick to point out that the construction of new apartment buildings such a Luxe will result in increased housing options. “Down the road it is forecasted that there will be a surplus of housing,” he said.

However, apartments in Waterloo are not always within a student’s budget.
Minaker pointed out that “lodging is a favourable option for students who can’t afford an apartment.” The implementation of the new by-law would prohibit lodging without a licence.

“Students seem to be caught in the middle of this,” reflected Hyde. “We don’t want our students living in unsafe conditions but also at the same time we don’t want the cost of living for students going up as the result of a by-law either.”
The student’s union has not taken an official position on the by-law as of yet, one thing is certain. “It’s all about the students,” Hyde added.

Walker explained there has been no student outcry to the student’s union about the proposed by-law. Milovick suggested educating the student population is the key.

“We should educate the students so that come July 1 everyone knows what they are in for,” he said.

“We need a nice simple and succinct fact sheet that all parties can agree upon, to give to students,” suggested Hyde, emphasizing the need for a neutral document, “Then let the students decide.”

PROW is taking steps towards releasing such a document in the near future.
Students at the University of Waterloo have already created a Facebook group protesting the by-law and over 500 students have joined.

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