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'An exploitation of the housing crisis': Windsor councillor calls rental listing disturbing

As Windsor-Essex and cities across the country deal with an affordable housing crisis, one rental listing in Windsor is catching the eye and ire of one city councillor.

A listing on Facebook Marketplace, which has since been taken down, advertises a six-bed, one-bathroom unit for $330 per month.

What you see is multiple beds crammed into a single room.

“I think what we should call this as an exploitation of the housing crisis,” said Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante, who highlighted the listing in a recent social media post. “You have a landlord who has clearly taking advantage of the shortage of housing and specifically affordable housing in our community.”

There are more than 7,000 people in Windsor on the central housing registry looking for affordable housing.

But Costante believes this particular listing speaks to the rental climate in Windsor, calling it “disturbing.”

“Visibly seeing mattresses on the floor and renting those out in that fashion, I think, falls below a standard that we should be accepting here,” he said.

Costante points to the importance of the new Residential Rental Licensing (RRL) bylaw, passed earlier this year, to curb such practices. He’s calling on residents to call 311 when they see issues or listings like this in their neighbourhood.

“And the RRL is intended to address exactly this type of scenario where people or landlords are putting up beds and developing units within a home that are not up to building and fire code,” he said. “And so it's about tenant safety.”

Costante notes the issues are more prevalent in neighbourhoods around St. Clair College and the University of Windsor where student rentals are more readily available.

It’s nothing new, he said, noting in recent years, the influx of international students, existing market pressures like inflation, high interest rates and supply shortage are creating desperation.

“We are mired right now in a perfect storm,” Costante said.

Both the college and university have resources online to help students to find housing and understand their rights as tenants.

Costante is particularly concerned for international students, who are recruited to Windsor in the thousands but some still struggle to find suitable places to live.

“Are they receiving adequate housing when they come here? And that's an honest discussion that I think we need to have as a community,” Costante said.

The west-Windsor councillor believes despite some new student residences coming online at the college and university, more action from both institutions is needed to help solve the housing crisis.

“I do believe that university and college have a moral obligation to build more housing, and they are, but let's be clear, they are building some student dormitories,” he said.

“But I think they need to do much more.” Top Stories

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