Windsor·Audio

45% of Windsor renters paying too much income toward housing, say advocates

More and more of people's income is going toward rent in Windsor, meaning there is less left over for savings and everyday expenses.

30 per cent of income is considered the affordability threshold, no matter if you rent or own

A new report shows that Ontario has Canada's highest proportion of renters paying more than 30 per cent of their income on housing. (Jason Viau/CBC)

More and more of renters' incomes are going toward their rent in Windsor, meaning there is less left over for savings and everyday expenses.

That's according to Ken Hale, a lawyer and director of legal services for the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO).

Ontario has Canada's highest proportion of renters paying more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, according to an ACTO report. In Windsor, that measure is particularly high. 

About 45 per cent of renters in Windsor are paying too much of their income toward their rent, said Hale.

"Windsor has lower rents than many places in the province but, still, the proportion of people paying more than 30 per cent is still very high," said Hale. 

Hear more from Hale on CBC's Windsor Morning:

That number is important because 30 per cent of income toward rent or a mortgage is considered the affordability threshold, no matter if you rent or own.

"One of the most alarming things is a really sharp increase in rent between the 2011 census and the 2016 census," said Hale. "We don't believe this increase in rental cost is being matched by people's ability to pay."

Hale said that wages and social assistance increases are not matching up with rental increases. 

This map from Statistics Canada outlined the per cent of Windsorites paying more than 30 per cent of their income towards rent. (Statistics Canada 2016 Census)

Windsor is also seeing a lack of rental properties, said Hale, so people don't have much of a choice when it comes to price. 

"The vacancy rate goes up and down with the economy, but when the economy is doing okay it's pretty tight," he said.

Another problem is there are no regulations on rental prices between tenants. That means landlords can hike the price as much as they want once someone decides to leave the unit.

"We allow landlords to increase the rent to whatever they can get away with in between tenants," said Hale, adding there's an incentive to mistreat tenants to force them out, so rents can rise after the people leave.

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