Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Profits and loss

So I've opinions.. economics would suggest they are motivated by profit and loss. So cards on the table; where do I stand to profit -- where do I stand to loose. Well I profit if you make residential rental accomodation more difficult to find. I have no problem currently renting my properties but economics says that removing my competition can't possibly hurt. So I stood to gain by the draconian suggestion that every licensed lodging house in Waterloo ceased to be one upon sale. I opposed this proposal not because it was bad for me but because it was !!NUTS!!.

Increase in the number of bedrooms I'm permitted to rent .. hasn't happened yet. The number is still 3 despite all the claims that the city change it to 4 on Monday. Why, because to have 4 I'd have to also be 150 meters away from the nearest licensed lodging house. Houses in Waterloo actually able to enjoy the benefits of the change as it currently stands are zero.. most certainly none in the prime areas where students might wish to live -- close to the university. And those that are could have obtained license for 4 or more, prior to change of by-law anyway.

But yes, the increase from 3 to 4 is eminently sensible. In a community which would like to live in residential neighbourhoods I've had accomodation I've been forced to leave vacant, year after year due to the cities by-laws. In a country that recognises the need for more affordable housing, I live in a city which has denied the poorest a bedroom I could have given them for a song.

Removal of the minimum distance separation rules. Would I benefit.. No except in that I'd now be able to rent to 4 rather than the current 3. I'm not planning on
buying up property, and I am certainly not planning or running a bording house, or accomodation for obscene numbers in a residential neighbourhood. But the city would benefit. People would then be able to believe that they rented on a level playing field. Communities would benefit if instead of large lodging houses packed with students the one in four within our community who were students, lived a lifestyle no different from the one in four within our community who are blond.

Grandfathering. Technically I might be labelled profiting here, though that is not at all clear. Our newest property is a legal-non-conforming duplex, converted from a single residence when the powers that be last thought it would be a great idea to encourage intensification by permitting second units to be constructed in a single home. We paid what seemed at the time a small fortune for what physically would be a very cheap house if not located on the north side of Columbia. Following rezoning of the south side of Columbia rumour has it that those houses sold for $450,000 or more. We could have purchased a nice home for the price of the property at 44 Columbia. We then promptly added a further 10% to our costs by completely renovating the basement area. Yes it was a duplex, but you had to wash dishes in a laundry tube, had a kitchen which consisted little more than stove in a shared laundry room area, and washing facilities were a very small shower. We've brought this property up to fire code; replaced all the electrics; put in dual fuse panels; converted bedrooms that were into larger bedrooms that are; added a full bathroom with bath, and a full fitted kitchen. This work was all done by professionals, and inspected and approved. But with the uncertainty about what would be permitted following the passing of the new by-law; yes we have concerns and would be almost certainly considering legal action if having done everything with approval of the city to improve the quality of accomodation at 44 Columbia, they had then turned round and told us that we could put no more than 3 in a legal non-conforming duplex, because as of this date it was no longer a legal duplex.

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