Realtor fears influx in demand for affordable housing in Windsor-Essex
A new student residence is slated for the University of Windsor following a record number of student enrollments.
“We are going to be breaking ground a little bit later this spring for a new student residence here on campus,” said president Dr. Robert Gordon who admitted the school has contributed to strain in affordable housing.
“We need to be part of that solution here in the west end of Windsor but also throughout the entire region in terms of making sure there's sustainable affordable housing for all of our students.”
During his annual State of the University Address, Gordon said the school saw a record number of enrolled students last fall (15,950), 1,200 more than before the start of the pandemic.
International students and students from outside Essex County are competing in the same market as locals.
“Students are coming to town and they're paying top dollar for their rent if they can find a place that they're not having to share a room,” said realtor Joe Fallea.
With a vacancy rate of two per cent, Fallea says there is pent-up demand that needs to be satisfied.
“People aren't purchasing fast enough and we're not building fast enough,” he said.
Fallea says he has investors scouring the area for opportunities.
“They're looking at buying places to actually renovate to make them nicer to get those student rentals projects going to fulfil the demand,” he said.
He fears what may happen when the city's Residential Rental Licensing Pilot comes into effect later this year.
“There's gonna be another demand for student rentals because there's going to be a lot of them shut down because they're not legal,” Fallea said.
Ward 2 city councillor Fabio Costante says an effort will be made to ensure students aren’t forced to the curb.
“The first effort will be to try and come up with solutions where we're not disturbing tenant movement and we're not kicking people out on the street,” said Costante.
Under the two-year pilot project owners of rental properties with four or fewer units will need to secure a licence for each unit in Wards 1 and 2.
“We're obviously in a housing crisis at the moment,” said Costante. “But on the other hand, you want to make sure these renters and tenants are living in safe units that adhere to the building code and fire code.”
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