For Immediate Release

The Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) today released a report called “Not just a roof over our heads” detailing the findings of a recent survey of Edmonton renters. A diverse group of 727 renters responded to the survey that took place during April and May of this year. 

“Despite some improvement in the vacancy rate, five times more renters reported that their housing situation is getting worse rather than better,” noted Anette Kinley, the ESPC’s Research and Communications Assistant, and the report’s author.  “Over four out of five renters reported that their rent went up in the last year.  The average increase was $195 per month,” she added.

Renters facing the steepest increases were those who could least afford it, namely those living in modestly priced rental accommodation.  “The survey found renters paying less than $500 month initially faced an average rent increase of 61% in the past year. In contrast, those who started paying $1,000 or more faced an average 18% increase, less than one-third as high,” Kinley noted.

The ESPC survey findings are consistent with the most recent report of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation which shows that most of the improvement in the vacancy rate is in higher end rental accommodation, such as rental condos, and not in the lower end of the rental market.

“We are appreciative that many survey respondents took the time to offer their recommendations on how to address the ongoing crisis in affordable rental housing,” said John Kolkman, the ESPC’s Research and Policy Analysis Coordinator. “Based on this input, the ESPC has modified and updated its own positions on the rental housing crisis,” he added.

“By far the most frequently cited recommendations from renters were the urgent need for the provincial government to stabilize rents and get more affordable rental housing built,” said Kolkman. 

“The ESPC therefore continues to see the need for rent guidelines to protect vulnerable renters with low or modest incomes. These temporary controls should only be lifted once more rental housing gets built and provincial rent subsidy programs improved,” concluded Kolkman

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