More rental buildings needed

The quickest, cheapest way of getting a garden suite into the rental market is by using an old travel trailer

Re: the recent articles about Saanich council looking at allowing detached suites.

In 2012 the GVRD published their landmark risk analysis about the rental situation which clearly pointed out that the chronic rental shortages are due to the Strata Title Act of 1966 allowing developers to make far greater profits from building condos than from building rental apartments.

The fact is that since 1980 there has been a net loss of rental buildings because new ones are rarely being built and existing ones are being converted to condos.  That analysis informed all local politicians and town planners not only of the primary cause of the problem but also that the primary solution is to stall the approval of new strata titles until more rental buildings are built and existing ones upgraded.  That infill suites are at best a temporary band-aid until more rental buildings are built.

From his quotes, Coun. Fred Haynes seems to be pushing for garden suites because as separate buildings they can be erected quickly and cheaply.  One quote was that they can be built and ready to rent out for as little as $25,000.    That estimate is very, very high.

The quickest, cheapest way of getting a garden suite into the rental market is to buy an old travel trailer that is no longer road worthy, put it on blocks in the back garden, have an electrician run power to its box, and a plumber connect the water and sewer, and for less than $2,500 you have something ready to rent out.  This will provide CSA approved, professionally built housing almost immediately.  You could probably rent it out over AIRBnB.com to Alberta snowbirds for $500 a week or $1,000 a month.  Since the larger trailers sleep six, you could rent it out for even more to foreign students.

Before they go any further with this band-aid solution, perhaps Saanich council should try locking up their “strata rubber stamp” and convince developers to build rental buildings instead of condos.

Stephen Bowker

Victoria