See What Your Guelph Neighbours Are Paying in Rent
A novel online platform is rapidly gaining traction among residents of Guelph, aiming to bring clarity to Ontario’s rental housing market. The website, known as Rental Registry, enables tenants to disclose their monthly rent, which is then visualized on an interactive map for public scrutiny.
As of the most recent data, the platform has amassed entries from over 6,000 individuals across Ontario, including close to 50 contributions from the Guelph community.
“We see that a lot of people are extremely curious and excited about the information that we are putting in there,” said Adam Mongrain, the Director of Housing Policy at Vivre en Ville, the Quebec-based non-profit organization spearheading the initiative. “Submissions are coming in by the hundreds.”
This initiative is a collaborative venture involving Vivre en Ville, the PLACE Centre at the Smart Prosperity Institute, the Angus Reid Institute, and the University of Toronto. While the platform is undoubtedly beneficial for renters, its ultimate goal is to serve as an informational resource for governmental policy-making.
Initially introduced in Quebec, the platform aims to address a legislative void. In Quebec, landlords are legally required to disclose the lowest rent paid for a specific unit in the preceding year. However, Mongrain pointed out a significant issue: “We’re entirely reliant on an honor system.”
The Ontario iteration of the platform seeks to equalize information access between landlords and tenants. “For markets to work properly, sellers and buyers have to know the same thing. And without a rental registry, they simply don’t,” Mongrain elaborated.
Supporting this notion, recent Angus Reid Institute data revealed that, on average, existing rental units have seen a 34% increase in rent over the past year. According to a September report by Rentals.ca, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Guelph is $2,036, reflecting a 1.7% year-over-year increase.
Though the Rental Registry relies on self-reported, unverified data, it offers a valuable snapshot of current market conditions. “Getting actual factual data about the state of the rental market is crucial for policymakers to actually act in step with the reality,” Mongrain concluded.