A View On A Room

The rooming house debate pits socialist golf-shirters against free-market hippies

by Paul Dechene

There are a couple criteria I try to apply when I’m faced with an issue that’s new to me and I need to pick a side. First, who are my friends going to be once I choose?

And second, who’s going to get fucked over if my side wins?

Those two questions have served me pretty well over the years. And I found them useful when I showed up at Knox Metropolitan Church for a meeting to discuss possible directions for their upcoming rooming house policy.

The pews filled up with two distinct groups. The largest were older people, mostly couples — the men in tidy, tucked-in golf shirts and tasteful man-jewelry; the ladies were in expensive prints. They conveyed casual respectability.

On the other side of the room, there were fewer grey hairs and the clothing was more informal. Some of the guys sported facial hair. At least one woman had dreadlocks. I recognized some faces from the People’s Housing Summit in April.

At five past seven, the meeting — which had been scheduled by the city’s planning department — got underway and one of the first speakers was Yves Richard, the Regina’s manager of neighbourhood planning. He ran through the background research on rooming houses the city had conducted and as he spoke a golf-shirted man sitting in front of me started to fidget in his seat and sigh loudly.

Richard has a slight French accent and this golf-shirted man found this so bothersome that he leaned in to his wife and said, “The guy’s not even Chinese and I still can’t understand him.”

He and his wife left after that.

Based on my first criteria, golf-shirt tribe lost a hundred points.

Next up, Fred Searle, manager of current planning, laid out the three options for dealing with rooming houses the city’s considering.

The first was basically to deregulate them — that is, remove the definition of “Rooming House” from the zoning bylaw and just enforce bylaw violations as they would with any other house or multi-unit dwelling. The second option was to limit the number of boarders allowed in a house — up to four would be permitted but to take in more you’d have to apply to council for approval.

The third option was not only to limit the number of boarders but also institute annual licenses and inspections for all rooming houses.

Once the presentations were done and people began lining up at the microphone, it became clear which options our two tribes preferred.

The tidy side was worried about rooming houses. They were home owners concerned about the way all these renters were taking up parking spots and how shabby these rented buildings looked. They wanted the city to intervene. They wanted option three with its licenses and penalties. It was socialism all the way with this crowd.

The other side of the room comprised renters and housing activists, and at least one rooming house owner. A rooming house wasn’t a problem to them — it was either part of a solution to the rental crisis or the place that they call home. They wanted option one and stood up to argue for property rights and deregulation.

And as the evening wore on an odd thing happened. As the renters and activists rose to defend the wisdom of the free market, the home owners in the golf shirts and animal prints started to heckle them.

This isn’t how things are supposed to work. Normally, it’s the older folk in the tidy clothes politely demanding smaller government while tsking their disapproval at the hippies who’re causing a ruckus and calling for higher taxes.

What. The. Hell.

And next thing I know, I’m starting to like all this talk of deregulation. These unkempt free marketeers are my people. I look like a twit in a golf shirt, anyway. I don’t even want to be caught hanging around with anyone who’d back option three.

At the same time, this is all rather disturbing because I’m usually the one arguing the merits of a well-funded and professional civil service that’s liberally armed with laser-precise legislation.

I’m a fan of Big Government.

But this time, thanks to my second criteria — who will get fucked over if my side wins — I find myself thinking the licenses and monitoring will only cause more harm than they’re worth. By placing strict limits on the number of boarders, I can’t see how you’d do anything other than reduce the number of rooms available to renters.

And rooming houses are homes for students, new immigrants and temporary workers. It’d be profoundly immoral to fuck these people over. Doubly so if you’re driving these people out of their homes over selfish and trivial concerns like parking or an unkempt yard.

Plus, if we wind up with rooming house licenses on the city’s books, that’ll also be hypocritical as all hell.

I’ve been to other meetings on housing issues, meetings where you won’t see a golf shirt unless it was purchased at Value Village and is being worn ironically. These are meetings like the People’s Housing Summit which attract renters and people with low or no income. The idea of landlord licensing has been raised at these meeting too as a way to prevent the abuse of tenants and as a way to make sure that landowners maintain their properties.

And yet, when this idea is raised by poor people, it’s ignored by council and administration and ridiculed in the media by landlords.

But once a group of comparatively wealthy home owners who’re worried about their property values and parking spots want to inflict licenses on landlords who only cater to people needing the least expensive housing, all of a sudden that becomes one of three options considered for a city policy? Seems a tad unfair.

As the meeting drew to a close there was no clear consensus on which of the three options would be the one the city would go with. If anything, the room was more divided at the end of the night than it was at the start.

And we won’t find out which side wins until September 23, when the rooming house policy goes before council.

[hr]

DEFINING A ROOMING HOUSE

Part of the problem with rooming houses in Regina comes from the way they’re defined. According to the city’s manager of neighbourhood planning, Yves Richard, the definition isn’t broad enough.

“I think the intent was good originally. A rooming house [in our bylaws] is where the owner is living there but he rents some extra room to other people. The only problem is that we have a situation where if the owner is not there, suddenly the definition did not apply and you realize it doesn’t make sense. The common definition of rooming house was well understood. It’s that somebody has some extra bedrooms that wants to rent them out. Suddenly we realize we have to change that and fix that because it’s not fair for some people where the owner doesn’t live [in the building],” he says.

To remedy this, the new policy will be dropping the term “rooming house” and using the broader “single room occupancy units” to refer to any situation where people are renting single rooms in a building but sharing amenities like kitchens, bathrooms or living spaces.

MENTION IT AND THEY WILL COMPLAIN

This whole controversy over how to regulate rooming houses began when the city released a draft of its Comprehensive Housing Strategy which contained provisions to encourage the development of rooming houses as they are a good rental option for people who can’t or don’t want to spend much on their housing. But according to Richard, the purpose of that part of the strategy was to foster the growth of purpose-built rooming houses. Not houses that have been turned into rooming houses on the sly.

But just the mention of the rooming houses tapped into a motherload of discontent. As it turns out, people all over the city, but especially home owners in the university area, were supremely disgruntled about the informal rental accommodations that had existed in their neighbourhoods. And when rooming houses became a “thing”, they picked up the phone.

According to Yves Richard, the number of complaints about rooming houses shot up dramatically immediately after the release of the Comprehensive Housing Strategy.

“We were surprised by how obvious it was. In 2010 we got eight [complaints], 2011 we got 11 service requests, 2012 we got 18. And in 2013 up to May we received 65. And really, most of them were after April when we introduced the housing strategy to council.” /Paul Dechene

92 thoughts on “A View On A Room”

  1. Good write up Paul. I think it would be wise to note that the rise in complaints was also attributed to the “anti-rooming house” group specifically telling their associates to complain and to complain often…

  2. Very interesting. I use similar criteria, and indeed the poorest in the city are about to get the shaft, courtesy of City Council and wealthy single family dwelling owners in Whitmore Park and Hillsdale complaining about a lack of parking instead of a lack of rooms for rent in Regina.

  3. Had it not been for the ‘Single Room Rental’, many of us might never have struck out on our own & given our parents a well-deserved break. Just as likely, many of us now on our own because of these dwellings would not likely have been able to afford a formalized Occupancy Agreement if there had been crap such as Licensing fees passed down to us. Mutual Respect between Renter & Property Owner was what kept the Separation of ‘Home’ and ‘Public Park’ a feasible financial possibility.

    The Cathedral Neighborhood was good in this Respect; I’d recommend people looking give the area consideration.

  4. Paul I think due to a few snobs at the meeting you have inadvertently reached a wrong conclusion.

    The rooming houses aren’t freedom suites. The ones people are noticing harm both ‘tribes’. They are unsafe, unsightly, and generate significant problems while at the same time exploiting the most vulnerable who don’t have housing security.

    Renters abused by slumlords or other renters face a horrible choice – suffer in silence or speak up and get kicked out.

    Bad owners rent out shabby closet sized spaces in a house and keep the property in disrepair. Neighbors must endure the side effects.

    There are simple solutions which strangely aren’t on the table. What would be so wrong with forcing owners to maintain minimum standards or buy a large enough building to host 18 people? We dictate how many people in a bar, restaurant or hotel, so why do slumlords get a free pass?

    Or better, make it mandatory the owner live on site, so they can be accountable for the fights, damage, garbage and other problems.

    Non-owner occupied houses should be classed as apartments and be tightly regulated to control problems.

    The scenario that is playing out – and which you seem to be endorsing – is to give slumlords a free pass to keep raking in profits without being responsible. That way the golf shirt people AND the renters lose, and the slumlord continues to win.

  5. Snobs? Let’s call ’em as I saw ’em. Bigots.

    I’d like to think that the outcry over rooming houses was motivated out of concern for health and safety, but the numbers tell a different story. Note how the number of calls went from 18 in a year to 65 in a month after the housing strategy was released. And note how 81% of those service calls were about parking and untidy exteriors.

    As for what I’m endorsing, it’s not that we should just ignore unsafe or unhealthy housing. To claim that I am means you didn’t really read what I wrote above and suggests you’ve read nothing else I’ve written on housing. We have bylaws that should protect renters from the kinds of conditions you raise. And the comprehensive housing strategy further addresses those conditions as well.

    I’m saying we should enforce the rules we have across the board for everybody, regardless of how much the rent is or what the nature of the building is.

    What the advocates of option 3 — remember, that’s landlord licensing and annual inspections — seem to be suggesting is that we need a separate set of stricter rules for the lowest end of the rental pool because they find it sketchy and unsavoury and inconvenient.

    If that is what we end up with, then it seems the only tangible outcome we’ll have had from the housing strategy process thus far is the fucking over of poor people. Nice work.

  6. Well your mind seems decided, so this may be in vain.

    Your aspersion about the call pattern actually has a much more plausible explanation. I’ve observed rooming houses over the years, but recently there’s been an undeniable explosion in the worst ones, and an exponential outbreak in the resulting issues and incidents.

    Patient people can tolerate a couple of bad rooming houses or the occasional incident. But when the problem has gone parabolic, of course we react.

    Previously I was told there’s nothing that can be done. But lately, the script response from both elected and unelected city hall was to fight fire with paper, and that we should call and document the issues.

    I was told that slumlords aren’t really regulated, so the only available tools are bylaw infractions such as …wait for it… parking, noise, and upkeep.

    We’re told to file complaints about immobile cars and uncut weeds. Our root issue is slumlording, not cars and weeds, but it’s the only route we have.

    So the spike in calls is people like myself taking an interest and then doing exactly what we have been told to do: get the slumlord’s attention by using the only tools that exist, which are fairly indirect and toothless.

    I know that doesn’t fit the narrative about golf-shirt wearing bigots, but it happens to be true.

    Yes I’m concerned about the exploited residents getting crammed densely into a slumlord property. I’m bothered by the tales they tell of unreliable heating and plumbing, of abuse from fellow renters, and of landlords who make it clear there’s a waiting list ready to replace anyone that doesn’t like the conditions.

    I’ve seen the blatant drug and sex trade as well as the sub-sub-letting done to pay the rent. I’ve seen renters train attack dogs to guard their rooms and turn the yard into an extra toilet.

    It bothers me to see neglected kids, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t grind my gears when those same kids smash my windows and crash shopping carts into my car for entertainment.

    Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to be unhappy about BOTH things: the exploitation of the renters AND the negative impacts on my own neighborhood and home.

    I live in the real world with half the homes on my block as rentals. It’s not the benign world of helpful hippies you describe, it’s a disadvantaged and tough crowd that’s been pushed to their brink by crappy landlords, crappy economy, and crappy mental health environment.

    The landlords have full knowledge that the city (and apparently now Paul Dechene) are in no hurry to make them accountable for anything.

    Having some minimal standards and regulation would not be – as you naively say – “fucking over poor people”. It would be scratching the surface of an attempt to bring a tiny amount of civility and accountability to the worst slumlords.

    And in the real world, what you call the “low end of the rental pool” is where accountability and standards are the most desperately needed. Economic disparity makes sure of that. Someone able to afford the security deposit on a Hamilton executive condo is in less immediate peril than the below poverty line family renting a run down $700 one bedroom and subletting it to a another couple who then sublets 5 more people who trade drugs for a spot on the couch.

    In theory, equality across all tiers is nice, but the fire that’s raging out of control right now are these rooming houses, the place you call the “low end”.

    You call for us to enforce the rules we have. The point you’ve missed Paul is there are precious few actual rules against the various practices that comprise slumlording. Make them replace the smoke detector batteries each week as they disappear, big deal.

    My experience is that a key dividing line is whether the property owner lives on site. At bad rooming houses, the owner wouldn’t spend one night in their own property, let alone live there. Getting rid of that part of the definition seems like it could make things worse, not better.

    The second option of a cap seems impractical. The bad rooming houses are already stuffed with undocumented tenants plus various wanted or unwanted guests. Slumlords already don’t care and don’t enforce how many people actually stay in the property, so having it on paper seems like it would be an unenforced joke.

    I’d rather see a fourth option – that rooming houses and apartments have a defined list of minimum standards and limitations, with swift and strong penalties if tenants or neighbors complain. High fines would fund a rapid investigation and enforcement group, and license fees would increase or decrease based on a landlord’s actual complaint history. That way good landlords don’t subsidize bad ones. Repeat infractions would result in prohibitions. Be a bad landlord, lose your license. Good landlords would thrive, bad ones would be squeezed out. Slumlords only understand money, so fines that threaten them financially could actually get them to respond.

  7. Hello Mr. Reader,

    I was going to post something brief…Instead I’ve countered everything Mr. Reader said…Enjoy the rant people. Especially when we delve into the fantasy world discussed in comments #14, #15 and #21…

    Mr. Reader spilled out a novel of drivel and a long list of issues which could have been dealt with using existing laws. Your theory of licensing, inspection and fines is also not going to improve the problem with current high rent costs in this city.

    ———–

    Lets just shotgun attack a few of your comments.

    Your first claim:
    “The rooming houses aren’t freedom suites. The ones people are noticing harm both ‘tribes’. They are unsafe, unsightly, and generate significant problems while at the same time exploiting the most vulnerable who don’t have housing security.”

    Is false. A rooming house is very specifically when the owner owns the house, lives in the house and rents rooms in the house. That is the definition we are talking about. I am one of those people. My house is safe, beautiful and does not generate “significant problems” or exploit the most vulnerable who don’t have housing security. I actually rent to people who are quite well off. White collar professionals with a significant amount of money. If my friends at my house couldn’t be here they would have to get an apartment. And when it comes to a bidding war between them and the most vulnerable you mention it would be my friends that can pay more for the apartment and the most vulnerable you mentioned would be homeless and on the street!

    Your second claim:
    “Renters abused by slumlords or other renters face a horrible choice – suffer in silence or speak up and get kicked out.”

    Excuse me, I am a rooming house operator not a slumlord. I live in the house with friends. I don’t abuse them causing them to suffer or get kicked out. Also, I don’t abuse these people. Why would I? I have to live with them and we get along just fine.

    Your third claim:
    “Bad owners rent out shabby closet sized spaces in a house and keep the property in disrepair. Neighbors must endure the side effects.”

    False. How do you know they are renting out closet sized spaces? Have you seen them or are you making this up like the long list of other claims you have?

    Your fourth claim:
    “We dictate how many people in a bar, restaurant or hotel, so why do slumlords get a free pass?”

    Because people have a choice. Slumlords don’t “force” people to live there. Some people might be deciding to live in overcrowded spaces, but I assure you it isn’t the landlord forcing them into it. People don’t want to live in overcrowded spaces they only choose so because its better then homelessness. This is a problem with the housing crisis in Regina. And there are solutions to this problem. How many rooms are empty in your house Mr. Reader? Why don’t you rent out 1, 2 or 3 rooms and actually partake in solving this housing crisis?

    Your fifth Comment:
    “Or better, make it mandatory the owner live on site, so they can be accountable for the fights, damage, garbage and other problems.”

    Um, Excuse me? This is very specifically what we are talking about. A rooming house by definition is when the owner does live on site! It is better when the owner lives with the tenants in the same house as it mitigates fights, damage, garbage and other problems. I will quietly stand by your comment here though and point out to you that you actually support “Rooming houses” because you believe the owner should live there. Remember by definition a “Rooming house” is when the owner does live there!!!!
    Checkmate my friend!

    Carrying on…6th point:
    “Non-owner occupied houses should be classed as apartments and be tightly regulated to control problems.”

    False. They should be classified as houses and regulated to the same standard as owner occupied houses.

    Your seventh point:
    “The scenario that is playing out – and which you seem to be endorsing – is to give slumlords a free pass to keep raking in profits without being responsible. That way the golf shirt people AND the renters lose, and the slumlord continues to win.”

    Paul is actually endorsing that when the owner lives in a home he should be allowed to rent rooming in that house. Your statement is completely false because you don’t even understand what he was endorsing. I’ll also remind you that you support making the owner live on site which technically would make it a “Rooming house”. I will constantly bring this point up to make you realize that you actually support “Rooming houses” because you think its better when the owner does live on site.(In fact most people think its better when the owner lives on site)

    8th Point…getting into your second post.
    “Your aspersion about the call pattern actually has a much more plausible explanation. I’ve observed rooming houses over the years, but recently there’s been an undeniable explosion in the worst ones, and an exponential outbreak in the resulting issues and incidents.”

    Call volumes went up directly after the comprehensive strategy was presented and an “anti-rooming house” group directly told people to call in and complain about these houses repeatedly. I think his diagnoses of the call pattern is correct.

    9th Point:
    “Patient people can tolerate a couple of bad rooming houses or the occasional incident. But when the problem has gone parabolic, of course we react.”

    If you believe this problem has gone parabolic then the housing crisis in Regina has gotten worse. We are going to need some serious action to solve this problem. Perhaps if you are only 1 or 2 people living in Regina in a house you must put at least 1 person in an empty bedroom. Failure to do so will result in a $10,000 fine each year. That money could be put to good use building more housing to get people out of overcrowded houses. What do you think of that solution Mr. Reader?

    10th comment:
    “Previously I was told there’s nothing that can be done. But lately, the script response from both elected and unelected city hall was to fight fire with paper, and that we should call and document the issues.”

    So when you heard this after the comprehensive housing strategy was release you decided to pick up the phones and start calling? Is this what caused the spike in calls? As opposed to the “parabolic” claim you made earlier?

    11th comment:
    “I was told that slumlords aren’t really regulated, so the only available tools are bylaw infractions such as …wait for it… parking, noise, and upkeep.”

    I would like to remind you that all houses are regulated by things such as building code. All rentals are regulated by the Landlord and tenant act. All parking is regulated by the parking bylaw. Noise is regulated by the Noise bylaw. I don’t exactly know what you mean by “upkeep”…perhaps what you are referring to would be regulated by the Clean Property Bylaw. So as you can see slumlords, landlords and all homeowners are in fact heavily regulated as is. We have lots of current laws on the books to deal with problems.

    12th comment:
    “We’re told to file complaints about immobile cars and uncut weeds. Our root issue is slumlording, not cars and weeds, but it’s the only route we have.”

    Immobile cars and weeds have nothing to do with the number of people living inside a house and can occur in any of the housing uses being “Rooming House”, Rental house or owner occupied house. I should not that in a “Rooming house” the owner lives there and the neighbor at least has a chance to go talk with the owner about these issues and can see about getting the issue resolved. When I’m done arguing with you on the internet I might go work on my “immobile car” which is my race car stored inside the garage out of site or cut my grass. Remember I live in this house and don’t like weeds either. So I pull them as they come.

    13th comment:
    “So the spike in calls is people like myself taking an interest and then doing exactly what we have been told to do: get the slumlord’s attention by using the only tools that exist, which are fairly indirect and toothless.

    I know that doesn’t fit the narrative about golf-shirt wearing bigots, but it happens to be true.”

    You ever ask yourself if all them complaints you sent in were very “neighborly”? I’m pretty certain that there is an underlying issue of bigotry happening here where the golf-shirt wearing bigots don’t like the immigrants moving into their neighborhoods. In fact having talked with some Chinese rooming house operators they have actually told me that their golf shirt wearing bigot neighbors have actually said racist things to them. But we all know talking about race issues won’t solve anything regarding rooming houses so I’m going to bet that the issue of race will just simply simmer underneath the surface.

    14th comment:
    “Yes I’m concerned about the exploited residents getting crammed densely into a slumlord property. I’m bothered by the tales they tell of unreliable heating and plumbing, of abuse from fellow renters, and of landlords who make it clear there’s a waiting list ready to replace anyone that doesn’t like the conditions.”

    I have a tough time believing you in this comment. I think you are concerned that your property values might be going down (even though we all know house values skyrocketed in the last 5-6 years). Oh, you’ve heard tales of unreliable heating and plumbing? Lets check the definition of tale shall we. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tale) I find #2 and #3 most entertaining definitions for this discussion. Oh, and their is a waiting list to get in? Really, a waiting list to get into these “unsafe, unsightly houses exploiting the most vulnerable”. Wow, can’t imagine who would want to be on that waiting list….Maybe we have a bigger problem to solve here in Regina then “Rooming Houses”. Maybe the bigger problem to solve is identified as “Regina Housing Crisis”?

    15th comment:
    “I’ve seen the blatant drug and sex trade as well as the sub-sub-letting done to pay the rent. I’ve seen renters train attack dogs to guard their rooms and turn the yard into an extra toilet.”

    Oh really? You have actually seen blatant drug trade? Did you refer that the the Regina Police Service? (It’s currently illegal you know). Oh, You’ve actually seen the sex trade? How did you see the sex trade occurring? Did you watch in your neighbors window to observe the act and the transfer of money? Do tell us how you managed to see these things. Oh, you’ve seen sub-sub-letting. You mean to say you are so close to your neighbors that you know who is on the lease with the landlord and who they sub rented to and who those people sub sub rented to? Oh you’ve seen renters training attack dogs? (Regulated by the bylaws already btw) How do you know these guard dogs are guarding their rooms? Do you try to break into these peoples rooms? How exactly do you know this? Extra toilet in the back yard you say? Were you peering into these peoples backyards to see if they had a porcelain throne back there? Why were you on their property to do such a thing. (PS. Trespassing is illegal ya know)

    16th comment:
    “It bothers me to see neglected kids, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t grind my gears when those same kids smash my windows and crash shopping carts into my car for entertainment.”

    Wait…What does this have to do with rooming houses? How do any of your suggestions help solve this problem?

    17th comment:
    “Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to be unhappy about BOTH things: the exploitation of the renters AND the negative impacts on my own neighborhood and home.”

    Are you also unhappy about the high cost of rent or homelessness in this town?

    18th comment:
    “I live in the real world with half the homes on my block as rentals. It’s not the benign world of helpful hippies you describe, it’s a disadvantaged and tough crowd that’s been pushed to their brink by crappy landlords, crappy economy, and crappy mental health environment.”

    We are going to need you to learn the difference between a “Rooming House” which is specifically when the owner lives in the house he owns and rents and Rental houses. You already said earlier that you think its better if the owner lives there. I’ll also have you note that the economy by standard economic indicators has never been stronger in Saskatchewan.

    19th comment:
    “The landlords have full knowledge that the city (and apparently now Paul Dechene) are in no hurry to make them accountable for anything.”

    Man…you are awful negative about everything. The city is a relatively busy place to be right now. With lots of major projects going on. They can’t just be out chasing all the fantasies that you seem to think are happening(see comment 15: Blatant drug and sex trade…also why would the landlord have to be responsible for drug or sex trade acts?).

    20th comment:
    “Having some minimal standards and regulation would not be – as you naively say – “fucking over poor people”. It would be scratching the surface of an attempt to bring a tiny amount of civility and accountability to the worst slumlords.”

    But the standards you have suggested would raise the price or rent and cause more people to be homeless. I’d say that qualifies as “f****** over poor people”.

    21st comment:
    “And in the real world, what you call the “low end of the rental pool” is where accountability and standards are the most desperately needed. Economic disparity makes sure of that. Someone able to afford the security deposit on a Hamilton executive condo is in less immediate peril than the below poverty line family renting a run down $700 one bedroom and subletting it to a another couple who then sublets 5 more people who trade drugs for a spot on the couch.”

    Hold on…let me get this straight. Rich people renting high end places need little protection…ok, I’ll give you that one. Below poverty line family renting a run down $700 one bedroom and subletting it to another couple…who then sublets 5 more people who trade drugs for a spot on the couch. So you mean to say that we have a poverty family(3 people minimum) and another couple(2 people) and then 5 more sublets which brings the total to 10 people in a one bedroom apartment. So…Ten people sharing $700/month rent or $70 per person per month…and drugs being traded for the spot on the couch. This is one of your aforementioned tales right? 10 people living in a one bedroom apartment and dealing drugs so that they can make their $70/month rent? This has to be one of your tales I’m sure. Who could possibly believe that 10 people are living in a one bedroom apartment for $70/month. And if we somehow do decide to believe you that this is actually happening then how bad is the housing crisis in Regina?…who are you to try and stop them? Also, what does this have to do with “Rooming Houses”. Remember “Rooming Houses” are when the owner lives in that house. I don’t know anyone who is capable of owning a house in this market willing to live with 10 people in a one bedroom house and having the tenants sell drugs for a spot on the couch! You’ve delved into complete insanity!

    PERHAPS ITS YOU THAT SHOULD BE SEEKING MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING!

    22nd comment:
    “You call for us to enforce the rules we have. The point you’ve missed Paul is there are precious few actual rules against the various practices that comprise slumlording. Make them replace the smoke detector batteries each week as they disappear, big deal.”

    I’ve already listed a huge list of rules against various things. What you seem to think is happening appears to be fantasy…

    23rd comment:
    “My experience is that a key dividing line is whether the property owner lives on site. At bad rooming houses, the owner wouldn’t spend one night in their own property, let alone live there. Getting rid of that part of the definition seems like it could make things worse, not better.”

    Actually getting rid of the definition would improve things. Currently under the bylaw the owner is not allowed to live in a house he/she owns and rent rooms in that house. You actually support “Rooming Houses” as currently defined in the zoning bylaw. Why don’t you come on over to our side and get the city to remove the definition and then we can move forward on actually solving some issues in this city?

    24th comment:
    “The second option of a cap seems impractical. The bad rooming houses are already stuffed with undocumented tenants plus various wanted or unwanted guests. Slumlords already don’t care and don’t enforce how many people actually stay in the property, so having it on paper seems like it would be an unenforced joke.”

    Yes, the second option is impractical and unenforceable unless you are willing to violate property rights and privacy of home owners and tenants.

    25th comment:
    “I’d rather see a fourth option – that rooming houses and apartments have a defined list of minimum standards and limitations, with swift and strong penalties if tenants or neighbors complain. High fines would fund a rapid investigation and enforcement group, and license fees would increase or decrease based on a landlord’s actual complaint history. That way good landlords don’t subsidize bad ones. Repeat infractions would result in prohibitions. Be a bad landlord, lose your license. Good landlords would thrive, bad ones would be squeezed out. Slumlords only understand money, so fines that threaten them financially could actually get them to respond.”

    How come you seem to want to blame the Landlord for the sins of others? I don’t want to see what you are posting here considered at all. You seem delusional.

    Who is “Mr. Reader” anyways. Why don’t you come on out with your real name…Are you Luc Lemoine?

  8. Ms/Mrs/Mr Knutson,

    If you are the perfect landlord as you claim, then your indigation is misplaced.

    But your rant and rude accusations greatly undermine your self-portrait of being nice and reasonable.

    For the moment, let’s accept the parts of your rant where you paint yourself as a great landlord. That doesn’t erase the fact that some or perhaps many are not.

    So the question becomes, why are you so vocal in denying that slumlording exists? Why wouldn’t you eagerly embrace anyone and anything that supports and protects good landlords?

    Would you be willing to extend your multiple “assurances” into real world stakes? For example if you are shown slumlord tenant situations, will you pay for the upgrades and relocations? Will you commit to provide them with high caliber rental space? Or will you simply admit that not every rooming house is like yours?

  9. A key issue is the City’s plan to drop owner-occupied from the definition. So your “checkmate” is effectively you doing a celebration dance after scoring on your own net.

    Your claims about the calling pattern are false from my actual experience.

    Your comments about building code are incorrect. I would have though as an exemplary landlord you’d know that building codes only touch on occupancy and have nothing to do with usage and tenancy issues.

    I believe you are also incorrect in saying that City bylaws forbid a home owner from renting out rooms in their own home. Which bylaws are you quoting?

    It’s obvious you’ve never been through the prolonged life cycle of investigating and disrupting illegal practices compliant with safer communities and neighborhoods, so your comments on that regard are (putting it charitably) wrong.

    I believe you are also totally incorrect in saying that City bylaws forbid a home owner from renting out rooms in their own home. However I’m open to being corrected if you can tell us which bylaws you are quoting.

    Calling me a bigot is unwarranted, and together with your other accusations of perversion and suggestions of mental illness only discredits you further. Bonne soirée.

  10. To Paul, your thesis was about deciding an issue based on who you’d like to maintain as a friend. I think Adam Knutson has skillfully illustrated how that probably won’t always work out.

    I respect and appreciate your work, but I fear that on this issue you’ve missed the bigger picture and your distaste over a few residents at a meeting is clouding your from the more significant issue of slumlording.

    Not sure you and I would be friends, but at least you can always know that even if I disagree with your article I won’t call you insane, bigoted,or a pervert. Your new friend can do that just fine.

  11. Dear Reader,

    I believe we are now getting somewhere. Do pardon me for the rant. I do get a little worked up over this issue.

    Your comments:
    “If you are the perfect landlord as you claim, then your indigation is misplaced.”

    …I’m interested now and believe you and I can actually come to a better understanding now.

    comment #2:
    “But your rant and rude accusations greatly undermine your self-portrait of being nice and reasonable.”

    This is probably true…

    comment #3:
    “For the moment, let’s accept the parts of your rant where you paint yourself as a great landlord. That doesn’t erase the fact that some or perhaps many are not.”

    I will agree with you here. I do realize that some landlords aren’t good landlords. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever denied this.

    comment #4:
    “So the question becomes, why are you so vocal in denying that slumlording exists? Why wouldn’t you eagerly embrace anyone and anything that supports and protects good landlords?”

    I am not vocal denying that slumlording exists. I am very vocal in an attempt to make it legal to own a home, live in that home and rent rooms in that home. I have been sent a letter indicating I may face up to a $10,000 fine and/or up to 1 year in jail for very simply owning a home, living in that home and renting rooms in that home. Being faced with that fine and/or jail time has made me very vocal on this issue. This “crime” of owning a home, living in that home and renting rooms in that home is actually defined in the City of Regina Zoning bylaw and I’ll get you the exact spot in a bit here.

    The second portion about eagerly embracing anyone and anything that supports and protects good landlords is a tricky question. Sometimes what people think is helping is actually not. Also I don’t feel there are any ideas currently on the table right now that will enhance the support or protection I currently have under the existing laws.

    comment #4:
    “Would you be willing to extend your multiple “assurances” into real world stakes? For example if you are shown slumlord tenant situations, will you pay for the upgrades and relocations? Will you commit to provide them with high caliber rental space? Or will you simply admit that not every rooming house is like yours?”

    Ah, what a nice set of questions.

    If I am shown slumlord tenant situations would I pay for the upgrades and relocations.
    Sadly no. I have my own house and financial situation to take care of. I believe that I should be responsible for myself and do my best to take care of myself, my family and my property. I am not responsible for paying for upgrades on someone else’s property. A property I don’t know.

    Relocations are also not in my list of financial capabilities. I have many expenses to take care of regarding my own house. Because of this market it is very expensive. Relocations aren’t generally too expensive beyond moving costs.

    Would I commit to providing them high caliber rental space. My spaces are currently full. If they weren’t full I would be able to help them but as it stands I don’t have the resources available to provide them with high caliber rental space. Its too bad I don’t have enough money to buy a second house because if I did I could then help them.

    I think it is clear that not every rooming house is not like mine. Some are possibly better, some are certainly worse. How many are better or worse is really hard to say. I do want to reiterate that when we say rooming house in Regina we are very specifically talking about a house that the owner owns, lives in and rents rooms. This is part of the problem when we discuss “Rooming Houses” is because the definition is exactly as I have said but the population automatically thinks that these houses are just stuffed to the max. I don’t stuff my place to the max because I and my tenants want to have a certain quality of life and they and myself wouldn’t accept being overloaded.

    What I can try to do though is influence the policy on the matter in a beneficial way. That is what I’m trying to do.

    comment #5:
    “A key issue is the City’s plan to drop owner-occupied from the definition. So your “checkmate” is effectively you doing a celebration dance after scoring on your own net.”

    Alright it is time for me to go find this exact definition to continue this discussion.

    Alright, we start here at the City of Regina website looking at the zoning bylaw.
    http://www.regina.ca/residents/bylaw/browse-most-requested-bylaws/regina-zoning-bylaw-9250/

    On this link(chapter 5) it shows where Rooming houses are permitted. Its Discretionary use in Zones R4 and R4A and its Permitted in TAR which is the transitional area south of downtown. (I find this ironic because newer R1 homes are safer then older R4 homes because of better build quality…I live in an R1 neighborhood which is why I was in violation of this bylaw.) The relevant chart is on page 7 of 34.
    http://www.regina.ca/opencms/export/sites/regina.ca/residents/bylaw/.media/pdf/chapter-5—use-and-development-regulations.pdf

    And this link(chapter 2) shows the actual definition of “Rooming Houses” that we are debating and very vocally opposing. It is very specific albeit a tad confusing.
    http://www.regina.ca/opencms/export/sites/regina.ca/residents/bylaw/.media/pdf/chapter-2—interpretation.pdf

    This is found on page 37 of 49

    “ROOMING HOUSE” – a building that is the primary residence of the owner and in which rooming units are provided by the owner, for permanent occupancy and compensation, to persons not related by blood, marriage, or adoption to the owner.[1992/9250]

    “ROOMING UNIT” – a room for only paid permanent accommodation that is not a dwelling unit or other form of accommodation defined elsewhere in this Bylaw, and which:
    (a) may or may not provide meals; and
    (b) makes no provision for cooking in any of the rooms occupied by paying boarders.[1992/9250]

    And this link(chapter 6) also talks about Rooming houses.
    http://www.regina.ca/opencms/export/sites/regina.ca/residents/bylaw/.media/pdf/chapter-6—residential-zone-regulations.pdf

    Found on page 53 of 55.
    “6D.5 ROOMING HOUSES
    5.1
    INTENT
    These regulations are intended to provide standards for the operation of rooming or boarding houses in a manner that would increase their compatibility with adjoining land uses, especially residential uses.[1992/9250]
    5.2
    APPLICATION
    These regulations apply to a rooming house defined in Chapter 2 of this Bylaw and do not include:
    (a) a hotel;
    (b) a motel;
    (c) emergency shelter; or
    (d) any establishment that offers short-term accommodation to transients. [1992/9250]
    5.3
    DWELLING UNIT AND OPERATOR REQUIREMENTS
    A rooming house shall be confined to a single-family dwelling occupied by the owner. [1992/9250]
    5.4
    BUILDING REQUIREMENTS
    (1) No building shall be used for a rooming house unless:
    (a) there are two exits to the outdoors; and
    (b) the rooms are at least 10 square metres.
    (2) No cooking facilities shall be provided in any of the rooms. [1992/9250]
    5.5
    PARKING
    Parking requirements shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 14 of this Bylaw. [1992/9250]
    5.6
    PERMIT
    No person shall operate a rooming house without a development permit.[1992/9250]

    So when I say “Rooming house” I a very specifically referring to this part of the bylaw. This is the definition that I want to see repealed. There is a lot of confusion on this issue because people hear “Rooming House” and assume slumlord and thus this issue is confusing for the population of Regina. We need to remove this definition and then we can move on to trying to address the slumlord situation. More Rooming houses would increase the supply of housing available and would be a step in solving the housing crisis.

    comment #6:
    “Your comments about building code are incorrect. I would have though as an exemplary landlord you’d know that building codes only touch on occupancy and have nothing to do with usage and tenancy issues.”

    Building code is for the physical structure of the home. When we say keeping things up to Building code we are talking about the building and not the use of that building indeed. Landlord and Tenant Act deal with relations of landlord and tenant. Fire Code might specify a number limit on how many people can occupy a home. I haven’t looked extensively for that because my use is much like any regular family in a regular family home. (who knows what you might find buried in that fire code though right?)

    comment #7:
    “I believe you are also incorrect in saying that City bylaws forbid a home owner from renting out rooms in their own home. Which bylaws are you quoting?”

    I have provided this above. I hope it brings a much better understanding to our discussion. It is these specific bylaws I would like to see removed. I hope you agree with me that we should remove these and then move onto other issues. We should in fact encourage this type of a Rental where the owner lives there at the home and rents rooms.

    comment #8:
    “It’s obvious you’ve never been through the prolonged life cycle of investigating and disrupting illegal practices compliant with safer communities and neighborhoods, so your comments on that regard are (putting it charitably) wrong.”

    It would perhaps be beneficial for me to learn about these prolonged life cycle issues. They may be beneficial for me to learn about some of these challenges you may know about. Learning about this would be a good thing indeed.

    comment #9:
    “I believe you are also totally incorrect in saying that City bylaws forbid a home owner from renting out rooms in their own home. However I’m open to being corrected if you can tell us which bylaws you are quoting.”

    I hope you see the bylaws I quoted above and can see where I am coming from. When I say I want to legalize rooming houses I don’t mean that I want slumlording legalized. This whole discussion right now is very specifically about those bylaws as it.

    comment #10:
    “Calling me a bigot is unwarranted, and together with your other accusations of perversion and suggestions of mental illness only discredits you further. Bonne soirée.”

    I’ll have you note that I actually never actually called you a bigot. There are some bigots complaining about rooming houses but that doesn’t mean you are a bigot. Paul also is noting that he did see some bigotry firsthand at that meeting.

    My accusations were most certainly over the line. Although you never did answer the questions I posed during that inappropriate rant. There is probably a simple explanation that would suffice as an answer. Your claims seem quite unreasonable and border on insane when you carefully read and analyze them though(this itself doesn’t mean they can’t be true though). I will admit I did cross a line in reasonable decorum though. My apologies.

    ——————–

    Do you realize now though that the issue of “Rooming Houses” being discussed is different then the issue of “Slumlording” you were discussing with your original comments? Perhaps we can move forward in discussing these as two separate issues now since we can see they should be separate discussions.

    Adam Knutson

    PS. Paul, I can’t see you being a bigot or a pervert. I will reserve the word insane to hurl at you at an opportune moment though!

  12. As briefly as possible:

    Evicting a tenant is a drawn out process. The current system allows bad tenants to extend this process greatly and fleece the landlord. Unfortunately the public’s perception about bad landlords means these rules will continue to favor tenants, leaving loopholes for the worst tenants to exploit.

    For education, why don’t you call the police and report when you see a guy on the sidewalk selling baggies to each car that comes by. They won’t (and can’t) do anything. At best if they have a slow shift, they will drive by and will later come and explain to you the many reasons why their hands are tied.

    The dealer will move the handoff to the porch for awhile, or have buyers step inside the door briefly if it’s a regular customer.

    Report a tenant who has 6 or 7 brief visitors during the night, and you’ll learn they can’t do anything about that either.

    Actual removal of these situations requires months or years of surveillance and evidence capture, with cooperation of something called the safer communities and neighborhoods. You’ll be offered the chance to place cameras in your home and make yourself a target for retribution and gang activity. Faster solutions are possible, but require the landlord owner’s involvement, and that is the problem I have referenced.

  13. As suspected, the actual issue is you running an operation not permitted by zoning. You should be making the case for why you want that to change, not attacking people who call for sensible and fair housing options. If anything you’d find allies here.

    The irony is that the best case you can make would include allowance for standards and monitoring. That would seem almost mandatory if you expect the different zoned neighborhoods to accept such a change.

    Please realize your freedom isn’t restricted. You’re free to buy property that’s zoned for the business you wish to run. The issue is you chose not to and you elected to break the known rules.

    Your business goal is making money from renters. Not saying that’s bad, but let’s be real and admit it.

    So why did you choose to establish your business in violation of the rules? It’s a valid question. Lots of legal and compliant businesses open every week, but they step up to the costs and responsibilities involved. Why can’t you?

    Recently I looked at properties. One affordable house had an active all night massage parlor close by. I had to weigh the pro’s and con’s of the house against the knowledge of what is allowed in that zone.

    Your neighbors also did the same evaluation. They paid more (and continue to pay higher taxes) at least partially because of what kind of businesses are allowed or not allowed on their street.

    So for you to change that does have effects on the neighbors, and thus becomes the balancing act.

    Do we help a business person like yourself who knowingly broke the rules and is reluctant to face up to the normal costs and responsibilities of such a business?

    Or do we help protect the residents who lived there first, and the people who obey all the rules? And what about the other landlords who are compliant? Is it fair you try and undercut the responsible ones?

    Do we help the rental customers but hurt the taxpayers? This is the tug of war and the questions that must be considered.

  14. By the way the questions aren’t meant to be accusatory, just pointing out that the situation you’re in is a result of choices you made. Every business does. Skimp on insurance to bank more profits, but get burned later if you need a claim. Spend more up front on good equipment, and it lasts longer. These are the kinds of tradeoffs. Your business is to rent bedrooms but you gambled on being able to avoid the rules.

  15. Renting bedrooms to roommates, whilst living there, is not a business according to most reasonable people. For a municipality to attempt to regulate such a situation, starting at the peak of a housing crisis, is insane.

  16. “Please realize your freedom isn’t restricted. You’re free to buy property that’s zoned for the business you wish to run. The issue is you chose not to and you elected to break the known rules.”

    Frankly nobody knew, or CARED about the 1992 bylaw in contemporary Regina until someone dug it up to use as a club to deal with an unrelated problem of percieved slums in once ritzy neighbourhoods. You didn’t even know about the law until Adam informed you of it in this discussion, yet you’d already formed an incorrect opinion about the subject upon which his personal freedom is at stake. Yes, the City has threatened him with a $10,000 fine AND a year in jail for doing something ‘wrong’ that even you thought was legal and right. If that isn’t a restriction of freedom in your books, you’re out to lunch.

    So what has changed your position to one where Adam must buy property elsewhere, competing with potential non-homeowners, simply to start a real landlording business where he doesn’t live? Isn’t it highly preferable that he be permitted to rent empty rooms to desirous roommates where he currently resides?

  17. Hello again Mr. Reader,

    Yes it is problematic what it takes to evict a bad tenant. That is currently a poor setup and there is nobody at the plate or even on deck who would dare address the problem. I don’t expect it to change anytime soon either.

    Weeding out those drug dealers presents a certain set of challenges. Most noticeably unlike actual crimes you can’t show an injured party or even show a statement of damages that would stand up in court. That is why you have to spend months and years trying to violate privacy setting up those “sting” operations. The cops can’t do anything about it because we(all us Canadians) have valuable rights such as the right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure. If you want safer communities and neighborhoods waging the “war on drugs” actually isn’t going to lead to success. How to properly combat drugs is an entirely different discussion also. Probably going to be an irrelevant discussion if in a few years they just legalize them anyways. Even then I won’t be a party to them as I have no interest in drugs.

    Dissecting the second post you made now:
    “As suspected, the actual issue is you running an operation not permitted by zoning. You should be making the case for why you want that to change, not attacking people who call for sensible and fair housing options. If anything you’d find allies here.”

    I think there is a pretty strong case for people to be able to own their house, live in that house and rent rooms in that house. You have already declared your support for that and I think if that question is posed to the populace or Regina it would be a resounding statement that people think that should be allowed. In fact most can’t believe that it isn’t currently legal.

    comment #2:
    “The irony is that the best case you can make would include allowance for standards and monitoring. That would seem almost mandatory if you expect the different zoned neighborhoods to accept such a change.”

    No that isn’t the best case. A home owner like myself renting rooms want to enjoy the same rights and privileges as my neighbor who is just a regular home owner. I don’t need a special set of standards and I don’t need any special monitoring simply because I rent out empty bedrooms. In fact I don’t want any special monitoring which you seem to recommend the government to do. If I need some help from the government I’ll ask for it. As it stands I don’t need it. Wasting time, effort and money to “monitor” these houses would just violate privacy anyways. I and my friends that live here have no special need to have someone coming in here and monitoring our private living quarters. That’s a horribly scary proposition. Do you want someone monitoring you?

    No that doesn’t seem like it should seem Mandatory at all. I live in a house and that’s normal. People live in houses. There is nothing neighborhoods have to do to accept this “change”. people have always lived in houses in this city.

    comment #3:
    “Please realize your freedom isn’t restricted. You’re free to buy property that’s zoned for the business you wish to run. The issue is you chose not to and you elected to break the known rules.”

    Actually my freedom to freely contract with people is being restricted. This talk of it being a business is non-sense. And your statement that I “chose not to and elected to break the known rules” is a complete lie. I chose to buy a house and rent rooms as that is a relatively standard practice in this city now in all neighborhoods. And the use of the words “known rules” must be put in that statement simply for comedic effect right?

    You literally said:
    “I believe you are also incorrect in saying that City bylaws forbid a home owner from renting out rooms in their own home. Which bylaws are you quoting?

    I believe you are also totally incorrect in saying that City bylaws forbid a home owner from renting out rooms in their own home. However I’m open to being corrected if you can tell us which bylaws you are quoting.”
    but now you turn around and claim I broke the “known rules”. I had to go digging to find those rules and pretty close to 0 people in this town knew about that rule.

    comment #4:
    “Your business goal is making money from renters. Not saying that’s bad, but let’s be real and admit it.”

    This is also a completely false claim. I am not a business and the City Administration already has noted that I am not a business and don’t require a business license. My goal is to buy a house in which I can live and raise a family and this is how I am accomplishing that personal goal. Also “making money” is false. I ran the numbers for last year and found out that I didn’t make any money buying this house. Funny how that happens when housing is incredibly expensive. You can try to make claims about business goals and making money from renters but its a false claim.

    comment #5.
    “So why did you choose to establish your business in violation of the rules? It’s a valid question. Lots of legal and compliant businesses open every week, but they step up to the costs and responsibilities involved. Why can’t you?”

    I am not a business. I didn’t establish a business. The City Administration has actually noted that what I am doing doesn’t require a business license. I don’t have to “step up” to the costs and responsibilities that a business would based on the plain simple fact that I am not a business. And if there were extra costs incurred that wouldn’t benefit me or the people the live with me anyways.

    comment #6:
    “Recently I looked at properties. One affordable house had an active all night massage parlor close by. I had to weigh the pro’s and con’s of the house against the knowledge of what is allowed in that zone.”

    So did you bother to go check out the place? Get yourself a massage and see if you could handle living a few doors down? I highly doubt you would actually notice that places operation but you gotta make your own decisions.

    comment #7:
    “Your neighbors also did the same evaluation. They paid more (and continue to pay higher taxes) at least partially because of what kind of businesses are allowed or not allowed on their street.”

    They paid more for a whole list of reasons. I’m betting square footage, build quality were the biggest factors but there is a whole list of factors indeed.

    comment #8:
    “So for you to change that does have effects on the neighbors, and thus becomes the balancing act.”

    This again is a false claim. You are again assuming that somehow this is a business but that is false. We are people living in a house and there is nothing new about people living in houses. People have always lived in houses in this city. I suspect they always will.

    comment #9:
    “Do we help a business person like yourself who knowingly broke the rules and is reluctant to face up to the normal costs and responsibilities of such a business?”

    This is another set of false claims. I am not a business person. I did not knowingly break the rules(Just like thousands of others in this city). And because I am not a business I don’t have to face up to normal costs or responsibilities of a business.

    Also, what costs do you think I should be facing anyways? Any costs incurred would have zero benefit and would be a complete waste. I’d still like to hear what costs you think there would be anyways…

    comment #10:
    “Or do we help protect the residents who lived there first, and the people who obey all the rules? And what about the other landlords who are compliant? Is it fair you try and undercut the responsible ones?”

    The residents who lived here first don’t need any protection. There is no statement or claim of damages that would hold up in court so I’m not sure what “protection” you think they would need. People have always lived in houses on the street…Why would they need protection from that? What about other landlords who are compliant? How does that even matter to my case? Is it fair for me to try and undercut the responsible ones? Excuse me but I am one of the responsible ones and there is no undercutting going on in this city right now. Are you trying to suggest that it should be illegal to own a home, live in that home and rent rooms in that home?

    comment #11:
    “Do we help the rental customers but hurt the taxpayers? This is the tug of war and the questions that must be considered.”

    These questions are definitely being considered….

    comment #12:
    “By the way the questions aren’t meant to be accusatory, just pointing out that the situation you’re in is a result of choices you made. Every business does. Skimp on insurance to bank more profits, but get burned later if you need a claim. Spend more up front on good equipment, and it lasts longer. These are the kinds of tradeoffs. Your business is to rent bedrooms but you gambled on being able to avoid the rules.”

    I didn’t take them accusatory. The situation that I and thousands of others are in is simply no one even knew this bylaw was on the books. You didn’t, I didn’t and probably everyone else didn’t also. Hopefully this bylaw gets repealed and we can move forward with life. And once again I’m not a business.

    Later,
    Adam Knutson

  18. John, I had a higher opinion of you, and now you are going around calling people insane just because you hold a different viewpoint. Not a good look for you I’m afraid.

    The act of renting out rooms is very well established by CRA and the provincial government.

    When said roommate complains to the rentalsman about something, try and claim the law doesn’t apply to you. Call the hearing officer insane and see how that works. Or when CRA catches your unreported income, try insulting the auditor and tell us again how renting rooms isn’t a business.

    All I’m illustrating is that if Adam Knutson wants to make money, there’s legal, ethical and proper ways to do so. And then there’s shortcuts and law breaking ways. It’s anyone’s personal choice whether they wish to follow the rules or whether they want to take shortcuts and break the law.

    But when they choose to skirt the law, how sympathetic should we be?

  19. John – you ask “Why must Adam buy property elsewhere, competing with potential non-homeowners, simply to start a real landlording business where he doesn’t live?”

    Because that’s the law, and to do otherwise is causing detriment for other innocent people.

    You also ask: “Isn’t it highly preferable that he be permitted to rent empty rooms to desirous roommates where he currently resides?”

    Actually no. That’s only preferable for Adam in so far as it lets him make profits from his business using an advantage that’s currently unfair and illegal.

    Suppose my desire is to manufacture meth, and I feel that Adam’s bedroom is a preferable location. Just because someone has a desire doesn’t mean they can just infringe everyone else. Fortunately, law and order usually protects us when someone else’s selfish behavior infringes on others.

    The civilized course of action is to convince the rest of society that your currently illegal desires should be legalized.

    You and Adam are free to lobby us on why the zoning should be changed. Make your case. Explain what benefits will offset the problems and costs. Tell us why it’s fair that we should change the rules for Adam and deny the wishes of the other residents. Even though you’ve rudely and unjustifiably called me insane, I’m open to hearing your pitch.

  20. You say: “I think there is a pretty strong case for people to be able to own their house, live in that house and rent rooms in that house.”

    Please do make the case, we’re listening.

    You say: “I think if that question is posed to the populace or Regina it would be a resounding statement that people think that should be allowed.”

    My own opinion aside for the moment, I think you are quite wrong about the general populace of home owners. The vast majority simply own and reside in their own primary residence. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, they’d be a hard bunch to win over.

    You: “A home owner like myself renting rooms wants to enjoy the same rights and privileges as my neighbor who is just a regular home owner”

    Not truthful. You actually want extra privileges over your neighbor. You want to run a rental business in a non-rental zone.

    Adam Knutson: “Do you want someone monitoring you?”

    CRA monitors your money. The police monitor your speed in a school zone. The City monitors your water consumption. And as you’ve learned, your neighbors are monitoring your illegal business. That’s why you’ve received a warning letter with potential consequences.

    Rental unit monitoring and limitations are to limit the problems you’ll create for your neighbors and to protect tenants from exploitation. If you aren’t looking to be a problem neighbor or exploit tenants, what’s your real objection?

    Adam: “My goal is to buy a house in which I can live and raise a family”

    So do that. Get those strangers out of your house and starting raising that family. Oh wait, then you’d lose the rental business income. And isn’t that what this really is about?

    The pages and pages you write all center on one false statement: that renting out rooms for money isn’t a business venture.

    The money (or equivalent consideration) makes it a business. Whether it’s the kind of business the city requires a license for isn’t the issue. Whether other people are also doing it isn’t the issue.

    You want to take the money but you don’t want to take the responsibility and do it legally.

    Adam Knutson: “And once again I’m not a business.” So why are your customers paying you?

  21. Wow.

    Reader, you chose not to live in a home with a massage parlour near by, yet you also chose to live on a street where half of the homes are rentals, which I am assuming are legal, without homeowners living in them.

    So why did you choose to live there then, if you knew that? Also, if you are so sure that your neighbours train attack dogs, neglect their children, trade sex and drugs for rent, why did you choose to live there?

    It’s not about making money, it’s about having a decent place to live, and I’m sorry you don’t understand that. Along with roommates, I’ve rented a home for $1600 a month, with a caved in ceiling and moldy basement. For a cost similar to that, with the same roommates, I can afford a mortgage, and take care of my own property. I would not be able to do that without roommates and would be (and have been) forced to live in rundown homes.

    You don’t have to argue for the sake of arguing, it is OK to admit that you misunderstood what the definition of a “rooming house” was, and having homeowners being able to live in a home while renting it out is a reasonable thing for the city to allow, in all zones.

    Also, I own my own place now (out of necessity, thanks to my rent going up 70%), where my car sits stationery outside more than it ever did when I renting.

  22. Reader,
    You assume, incorrectly, that someone who makes money by renting to a roommate doesn’t pay income tax on that money just because they don’t have a license or rental business.

    You assumed you knew what you were talking about. You didn’t then, and you don’t now.

    You’ve confused the “law” with what is just and sensible. Laws change, and must change to avoid insane situations. Applying the 1992 Rooming House law to 2013 Regina is insane. Period. It has the opposite effect from what the Housing Summit was intended to bring about for those struggling to find a place to live here.

  23. Mr. Reader,

    You do seem to fail to understand many things being presented to you. I also think you should read a few documents to get up to speed on the housing situation in Regina.

    Start with the Comprehensive Housing Strategy. Particularly strategy #15.
    http://www.designregina.ca/wp-content/uploads/Regina-Comprehensive-Housing-Strategy.pdf

    Followed by the City Administrations Recommendations regarding the Comprehensive Housing Strategy.
    http://www.designregina.ca/wp-content/uploads/City-Admin-Recommendations-to-Strategy.pdf

    Note that they recommend #15.

    You can read the Comprehensive housing strategies summary here:
    http://www.designregina.ca/wp-content/uploads/Regina-Comprehensive-Housing-Strategy-Summary.pdf

    Note that they have even developed a vision for the City of Regina:
    “Every person in Regina has the opportunity to live in housing that is attainable, well-maintained, and suitable, in a community that allows them to meet their daily and lifetime needs.”

    So to recap that information we know the City of Regina funded a consultation study to try and develop a solution to the housing situation. That consultation study found that Rooming houses as defined in the bylaw should be expanded to include people doing what I am doing. The City of Regina administration has recommended that we move ahead with that recommendation. The Mayor had to step up back in May to put the bylaw I have listed above for you into “Abeyance”. I think he did the right thing here.

    The Mayor has even said that I make a lot of sense and that this bylaw is an antiquated bylaw. He also says that what I am doing is a good thing. You can here him say that here(Mayor starts at 2:20):
    http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/Saskatchewan/The+Morning+Edition+-+Sask/ID/2384192577/

    If that isn’t a “strong case for rooming houses” when an external consultation study, City Administration and Mayor say so then there will be no convincing you.

    ————-

    “Reader”, I can dissect your posts later if you like. You keep making false accusations and I can point those out for you again if you really want me to respond to your post. Perhaps I will show your your false accusations later.

    Adam Knutson

  24. Melissa,

    So far Adam and John have seen fit to call names and level false accusations. To your credit you avoid the name calling half of that, and you at least start to present a case why some rules should be changed.

    You also inadvertently supported my case for at least minimal standards and inspections. That would have at least helped exploited renters like yourself with major issues like your caved in roof and molding basement.

    You can choose to believe and join John & Adam’s false trash talk, or you can go back and objectively read what I’ve written.

    My own case, before I purchase a property I check with agents on the permitted uses but more importantly I confirm it fully with the city. Doing the right and legal thing isn’t difficult, but it does cost some time and money. I suppose it’s tempting to try and cut corners and shave costs by breaking the rules but that temptation has never been very strong for me. I can sleep well knowing I’m doing things legally and won’t end up having to defend myself by claiming ignorance or willful blindness. If others take shortcuts, they might have issues – as this thread illustrates.

  25. John, I hope you’re just having a bad week and that’s what causing you to blend insults with the points you’re trying to make. You’re usually more decent.

    Adam’s in denial that his rental business is a business while simultaneously admitting activities that clearly comprise a rental operation.

    A nearby resident sells tacos every weekend at her perpetual garage sale. She prepares food and sells it with complete disregard of health and safety regulations. Her food preparation may be better or worse than some restaurants, but the point is she’s chosen not to do this legally.

    She too says she’s not a business, simply because that’s what she wishes to believe, not because it’s factual. She’s had a hard life and feels that justifies her activities.

    For those of us that can separate emotions from facts, we know that what she’s doing is illegal. You can debate whether it’s fair or safe or justified or all the rest. But on the pure point of ‘is it legal’, the answer is no.

    John you keep saying that I, and the laws, are insane. That kind of demeans me, the topic, and treads close to mocking actual mental health conditions. So why not back away from that undignified name calling, and just explain without attacks why the rules are bad and what you would recommend instead?

    For example if I were you, I might say changing the zoning to allow permit Adam’s activity could potentially open some affordable housing spots.

    I might point out that it’s a bandaid solution, because it indirectly props up the already over inflated real estate situation by allowing the Adam Knutson’s of Regina to keep pumping up higher prices for regular homes by adding business revenue to the normal cost of housing.

    Someone else would point out that the risks that a dangerous person might do this, so they might suggest a license involving police and credit check as a safety measure.

    You might then counter that the license process could cost the business owner some money.

    And so on. That’s how civilized people discuss ideas.

    Despite your misguided attacks, I do support improved housing options. My bias is towards something civilized, legalized, and organized. Make your case and avoid insulting people that could help and support you. Or don’t, it’s up to you!

  26. Adam Knutson: ” You keep making false accusations and I can point those out for you again if you really want me to respond to your post. Perhaps I will show your your false accusations later”

    My only accusation is that you are operating a business venture.

    It may be a small business. It may be a business you’ve commenced out of your personal necessity. It may be a business that doesn’t get licensed. Your business may be unincorporated, and your business may not keep good records. Your business may be low profit. You may believe others are operating similar unlicensed businesses. You may also believe your business is a benefit to your customers. But you’ve admitted the business activity so what more is there to say?

  27. Adam, can you speak objectively to any drawbacks that neighbors could experience if one owner on their block decides to start renting multiple spots?

    I’m not saying these concerns should necessarily prevail over your wish to change things. I’m just curious if you can objectively see that there are counter-balancing impacts and concerns.

  28. You’ve said my friend deserves to be threatened with jail time for his effort to helping alleviate the housing crisis, so excuse me if I’m testy with you.

    “and you at least start to present a case why some rules should be changed.”

    If you think NOT threatening Reginans with jail time for having roommates isn’t a strong case to change the bylaw, then you and I don’t have anything more to talk about on this issue, do we?

  29. “But you’ve admitted the business activity so what more is there to say?”

    If every time you sell something it’s a business, then good lord you must also want garage sales to have licenses too.

  30. I know, I know, let’s make everyone get a business license, but by default. That way, when they go to exchange a good or service for currency, they’ll be ready. Just make everyone pay for a licence in case they sell something.

  31. Just curious, Reader,

    How do you feel about kids having lemonade stands?

    Do you stop and give them 50 cents, or do you ask to see the business license, then call the health officials to make sure the lemonade meets health and safety regulations?

  32. “because it indirectly props up the already over inflated real estate situation by allowing the Adam Knutson’s of Regina to keep pumping up higher prices for regular homes by adding business revenue to the normal cost of housing.”

    Went back and read more. Shouldn’t have. Found more gurgling.

    Rather than try to rationalize that, I’ll ask Reader to contort into an explanation of that ‘reasoning’. This is going to make economists, and people looking to solve the housing crisis cringe. Sorry ’bout that.

  33. Dear “Reader”,

    You continue to make false claims after I repeatedly show documented info to show your claims are false. I am not a business, am not operating a business venture and do not need a business license or file for business taxes or be subjected to rules specific to businesses.

    I will direct your attention to Appendix D of the City of Regina Council Meeting Minutes from April 29th, 2013. The link is provided here:

    http://regina.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/cache/2/i3c2nt3lhcsi3mukn124dcy3/5747407312013031950356.PDF

    If that link doesn’t work for you then you can go to the City of Regina’s website and click on “packet” beside the listed April 29th meeting.
    http://www.regina.ca/residents/council-committees/meeting-calendar-agenda/

    Appendix D starts on Page 160 of 339 and is the City of Regina’s Administration’s responses to the comprehensive housing strategy public consultation summary. Of Particular interest is found on page 162 of 339 and is numbered 10. I’ll quote it here for everyone’s benefit.

    “10. Issue: Why are rooming houses not forced to get a business license?

    Administration’s Response:
    A rooming house does not fit the definition of a home-based business as defined by the City’s Zoning Bylaw. The City classifies it as a residential use, under its current definitions.”

    The house is a residential house being used as a residence by the owner and tenants. It does not fit the definition of a business. You can try and tell yourself all you want that its a business but the City Administration has already recognized that it isn’t a business.

    The city does not regulate the relationship between tenant and landlord and does not regulate who is in the house. Those are not city responsibilities.

    ——————–

    To address this:
    “Adam, can you speak objectively to any drawbacks that neighbors could experience if one owner on their block decides to start renting multiple spots?

    I’m not saying these concerns should necessarily prevail over your wish to change things. I’m just curious if you can objectively see that there are counter-balancing impacts and concerns.”

    Yes I can speak objectively to any drawbacks that neighbors could experience. These should be dealt with on a case by case basis. I think most of the complaints are also very feeble in this regard. The biggest two so far is garbage and parking. I fail to fill my garbage bin and now with recycling its even more difficult to fill the garbage bin.

    The second biggest complaint is with parking. I actually recommend that we change the parking bylaw so that an owner, tenant or guest can legally park in front of their own driveway. This would create a huge number of “new” spots to park in this city easing the parking issues. The other advantage is that a homeowner would be guaranteed that spot on the street so even if the neighbors have a lot of cars they would have a spot close to the house that they could use. Also if one of my friends for example could park in front of my driveway then they wouldn’t have to park in front of somebody else’s house. This would benefit both my friend and my neighbor. We are going to need some creative thinking to solve some of these problems. Adding more regulations will not solve these problems. Legalizing freedom will solve problems.

    There may be other issues that arise but the specific issues should be dealt with as opposed to trying to regulate who can and can’t live in a house.

    Adam Knutson

  34. Your comment:
    “You say: “I think if that question is posed to the populace or Regina it would be a resounding statement that people think that should be allowed.”

    My own opinion aside for the moment, I think you are quite wrong about the general populace of home owners. The vast majority simply own and reside in their own primary residence. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, they’d be a hard bunch to win over.”

    Most homeowners may just be regular people who own their own home and reside there by themselves. That is a different question then believing a homeowner has the right to own a home, live in that home and rent rooms in that home if they so shall wish.

    Your comment:
    “She too says she’s not a business, simply because that’s what she wishes to believe, not because it’s factual. She’s had a hard life and feels that justifies her activities.”

    I dunno about that being illegal. Sounds like work to me and Canada is a signatory to the Universal declaration of human rights. I’d say she is well within her rights to work and make a living.

    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

    Article 23.

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
    (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

    ———–

    Your comment:
    “You: “A home owner like myself renting rooms wants to enjoy the same rights and privileges as my neighbor who is just a regular home owner”

    Not truthful. You actually want extra privileges over your neighbor. You want to run a rental business in a non-rental zone.”

    False statement again. I and my neighbor would have the same privileges. My neighbor may choose not to rent a room and that is his free choice. Also my neighborhood could always have had rentals.

    Your comment:
    “Adam Knutson: “Do you want someone monitoring you?”

    CRA monitors your money. The police monitor your speed in a school zone. The City monitors your water consumption. And as you’ve learned, your neighbors are monitoring your illegal business. That’s why you’ve received a warning letter with potential consequences. ”

    That is also false. The CRA does not monitor you. They audit a certain number of Canadians every year but they don’t outright monitor you. The police do not monitor your speed in a school zone but selectively run occasional speed traps. The city meters your water consumption. You are free to cancel your water service and haul your own water. That is a contract you willfully and freely partake in. It is also not monitored but just regularly billed. It is also unclear who is monitoring my “illegal business” as you call it. But they should be careful not to violate section 264(2)(c) of the Criminal code of Canada. (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/section-264.html)

    Your comment:
    “Rental unit monitoring and limitations are to limit the problems you’ll create for your neighbors and to protect tenants from exploitation. If you aren’t looking to be a problem neighbor or exploit tenants, what’s your real objection?”

    This is a terrible method for trying to limit the problems rooming houses will create for neighbors. First we don’t have any valid claims of problems and second monitoring is an affront to peoples rights to be free from unreasonable search or seizure. My home should be inviolable and monitoring is a direct assault on that inviolability I should have.

    Your comment:
    “Adam: “My goal is to buy a house in which I can live and raise a family”

    So do that. Get those strangers out of your house and starting raising that family. Oh wait, then you’d lose the rental business income. And isn’t that what this really is about?”

    I have done that. There are certain actions that have to be taken in order to make that happen and I am currently doing embarked on those actions. What I have done is extremely normal for first time homebuyers in the last 5 years in Regina.

    Your comment:
    “The pages and pages you write all center on one false statement: that renting out rooms for money isn’t a business venture. ”

    My last post directly addresses your false claim that renting out rooms is a business venture.

    Your comment:
    “Adam Knutson: “And once again I’m not a business.” So why are your customers paying you?”

    Private individuals pay each other all the time. This doesn’t make these people businesses.

    ——-

    I just want to add something else here. Melissa, you are awesome. Please seek me out on facebook or on “Reginans in support of Rooming Houses”. We have some things to discuss regarding Rooming Houses if you are willing.

    Adam Knutson

  35. Regarding John Klein’s comment on this.
    ““because it indirectly props up the already over inflated real estate situation by allowing the Adam Knutson’s of Regina to keep pumping up higher prices for regular homes by adding business revenue to the normal cost of housing.”

    Went back and read more. Shouldn’t have. Found more gurgling.

    Rather than try to rationalize that, I’ll ask Reader to contort into an explanation of that ‘reasoning’. This is going to make economists, and people looking to solve the housing crisis cringe. Sorry ’bout that.”

    I don’t think that is grounded in any economic theory either. I doubt “Reader” would accept the economic explanation of it either.

    Adam Knutson

  36. John Klein: “You’ve said my friend deserves to be threatened with jail time for his effort to helping alleviate the housing crisis, so excuse me if I’m testy with you.”

    At no time have I said this. You’re mistaken and/or lying.

    As for your friend wanting to “alleviate the housing crisis”, do it without payment or consideration then. But he won’t, because getting money for the rooms is the main motivator.

  37. Melissa, can you read and be objective? The rogue food stand is an illustration. I offered no personal opinion of whether it’s right or wrong, but it is undeniably illegal.

    As for your snarking about lemonade stands, I just give them money.

  38. Reader, I’m trying to find the easiest way to explain this to you, because I’m not sure, even after all these comments, you fully understand what the debate is.

    I can rent my two bedroom home out during the Grey Cup. It’s legal for me to do so, and encouraged by the organizers. However, if I decide to stay in one of the bedrooms, and rent the other one out, that it when I’m facing a $10,000 fine /time in jail.

    Those houses down the street from you, where you don’t like the renters. All perfectly legal. Now if the landlord was to live in that house while still renting out the rooms, illegal. You have a problem with slumlords, and that is something you need to be taking up with the province and the ministry of justice, and not with the city of regina. A new bylaw with monitoring of “rooming houses” will change nothing for your situation, it will only discourage people to buy homes with the intention of living with roommates, and more people will remain renters, and there will be more opportunities for potential slumlords. Or you could lose a couple parking spots in front of your house every once in awhile – but that may because the adult children of your neighbours still live at home and are taking up all the street parking – which is legal by the way.

    (Adam, I don’t have Facebook)

  39. Adam, your commentary about monitoring is totally incorrect. I assure you that CRA does monitor everyone they possibly can, not just spot audits. Police do monitor speed using radar and laser devices. And the city does monitor water usage, with or with a so-called contract.

    The line where monitoring becomes invasive is worth debating, but so far people can’t even respond without insults, so the monitoring discussion probably won’t happen.

    Everyone insulting me seems to feel renters need help. Ironically, I’ve said that too, and suggested one tool that could help renters is to have minimum standards and monitoring of landlords.

    It’s worth nothing that there has not been a single polite response to my suggestion. The objections always come bundled with insults and name calling. It’s a curious pattern.

  40. Adam – you grazed on the outer edge of an interesting point here.

    “What I have done is extremely normal for first time homebuyers in the last 5 years in Regina.”

    While that’s probably not exactly factual, I would stipulate that there is a trend of late to sell houses with a push from the seller that the high price can be made more tolerable by renting out portions of the house.

    Actual statistics would show the vast majority of people buy a house and live in it with their own family.

    But let’s just agree that the number of people like yourself becoming landlords has grown significantly during the recent housing bubble.

    You want to look at that situation and call it “normal”, and you want to rewrite decades old laws and plans to enshrine it as “normal”.

    I think it’s a distortion and a symptom of a bigger problem. I would rather consider the root cause and explore that, rather than make distortion into the new normal.

    Treating symptoms never solves the root issue. It just means that when the root cause breaks, the snap back will be worse.

    It is proper that builders and real estate agents are telling people to spend above their means by adding side business income to the qualification? Is that sustainable? Is it normal that we now expect a extra mini bedroom to hold our clothes when a closet used to do? Is it normal that each bedroom have its own bathroom, and each bathroom have an extra sink?

    Whether you’re ready to admit it or not, you are renting rooms due to financial pressure. If you won a lottery, I’m convinced you wouldn’t continue sharing your bathroom with tenants.

  41. In many zones it’s perfectly legal to renovate one’s house and create a safe and legal rental suite. Why not do that?

  42. Reader’s comment:
    “John Klein: “You’ve said my friend deserves to be threatened with jail time for his effort to helping alleviate the housing crisis, so excuse me if I’m testy with you.”

    At no time have I said this. You’re mistaken and/or lying.

    As for your friend wanting to “alleviate the housing crisis”, do it without payment or consideration then. But he won’t, because getting money for the rooms is the main motivator”

    You’ve said things that would lead the reader to believe you believe that the law should be enforced. Also, why should I have to alleviate the housing crisis without payment? That would suggest everyone renting some kind of accommodation should just do it for free too. Perhaps you think I should just sell this house and go back to renting(which will consume available rent supply) and the buyer can be a retired couple who don’t rent which would effectively cut supply. If you understand economics you should be able to see how that would be an undesirable situation in Regina right now. The main motivator is home ownership. Funny how acquiring things takes money.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Melissa, can you read and be objective? The rogue food stand is an illustration. I offered no personal opinion of whether it’s right or wrong, but it is undeniably illegal.

    As for your snarking about lemonade stands, I just give them money.”

    Please offer us your personal opinion of whether that is right or wrong. Also, please offer your opinion on a person owning a home, living in a home and renting rooms in that home and also being able to do that having the same level of privilege as a home owner who owns a home but chooses not to rent rooms.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Adam, your commentary about monitoring is totally incorrect. I assure you that CRA does monitor everyone they possibly can, not just spot audits. Police do monitor speed using radar and laser devices. And the city does monitor water usage, with or with a so-called contract.

    The line where monitoring becomes invasive is worth debating, but so far people can’t even respond without insults, so the monitoring discussion probably won’t happen.

    Everyone insulting me seems to feel renters need help. Ironically, I’ve said that too, and suggested one tool that could help renters is to have minimum standards and monitoring of landlords.

    It’s worth nothing that there has not been a single polite response to my suggestion. The objections always come bundled with insults and name calling. It’s a curious pattern.”

    Its the internet. You do need to toughen up your skin a little bit. It is also hard to judge emotion while on the internet and sarcasm completely fails through text so that makes this a tad bit difficult also.

    John, for example, said,”You’ve confused the “law” with what is just and sensible. Laws change, and must change to avoid insane situations. Applying the 1992 Rooming House law to 2013 Regina is insane. Period. ”

    and John also said, “Renting bedrooms to roommates, whilst living there, is not a business according to most reasonable people. For a municipality to attempt to regulate such a situation, starting at the peak of a housing crisis, is insane.”

    But he actually never called you insane like you keep going back to(I did and I believe I admitted it was over the line). We must be careful as we interpret the comments on this hot topic here.

    How can you monitor “Rooming Houses” without violating my privacy though? And unless my friends staying here actually complain to someone else why would we need monitoring at all? What exactly do you want to monitor also?

    Yeah, Renters need help and understanding the root problem is key. I believe the biggest challenge facing renters right now is high rent prices. The solution to that is simple. Increase the supply of rentals and the price of rent could come down. Why are people living in overcrowded spaces? Probably because they couldn’t afford that space with less people or not being there would mean they are homeless. What you’ve suggest with minimum standards already exists and none of us believe monitoring of Landlords has a chance of changing anything but will likely increase rent costs and waste a bunch of money.

    The comments have come bundled gently with insults. There have been polite responses. I would suggest toughening that skin up and realizing that it hasn’t been that bad at all. If you don’t think this response is polite enough then there is nothing more that can be done to make you feel better.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Adam – you grazed on the outer edge of an interesting point here.

    “What I have done is extremely normal for first time homebuyers in the last 5 years in Regina.”

    While that’s probably not exactly factual, I would stipulate that there is a trend of late to sell houses with a push from the seller that the high price can be made more tolerable by renting out portions of the house.”

    There is a sizable amount of people that have bought there first home and have done this in the last 5 years. An overwhelming number of people that I know have done this themselves. That may be a unscientific statistical sample but its a definite trend. People buying a house and renting rooms has been done for a long time. The trend is certainly up in this regard lately because of the high price of rent and houses. Its difficult for people to afford rent and save to buy a home so they are finding other ways to buy a home. One of those ways is to rent rooms in the home they are buying. Often the rooms they rent to friends are rented for less money then the friends would be paying elsewhere and it helps the owner buy the house which is good for good for the eventual homeowner. In a few years the new homeowner will probably be earning more money and no longer need to rent. The friend renting may also have saved up some money and now be able to buy a home in the same manner. Its really good for all parties involved in fact.

    Readers comment:
    “Actual statistics would show the vast majority of people buy a house and live in it with their own family. ”

    Lets be careful here. You’ve moved from first time home buyers to people buying a house. If someone owned a house prior to the sharp rise in prices they are in a much better financial position to move sideways in the housing market. Ultimately most people would eventually want their own house just to themselves but there is some sacrifices to be made in order to acquire that.

    Readers comment:
    “But let’s just agree that the number of people like yourself becoming landlords has grown significantly during the recent housing bubble.

    You want to look at that situation and call it “normal”, and you want to rewrite decades old laws and plans to enshrine it as “normal”.

    I think it’s a distortion and a symptom of a bigger problem. I would rather consider the root cause and explore that, rather than make distortion into the new normal. ”

    Normal is subject to change. When a trend takes over what was is no longer normal. It is not no longer normal to buy a house in your young twenties, get married and start having kids early. First time homebuyers now are typically closer to 30, often have to have dual income to afford a home and are having kids later then before. You and I would probably agree that this change isn’t actually good but nevertheless it is what is happening. Hanging onto old antiquated laws will not help the situation. Also, you can’t legislate “normal” effectively.

    Readers comment:
    “Treating symptoms never solves the root issue. It just means that when the root cause breaks, the snap back will be worse.”

    Ah, but expanding the supply of rentals with current existing ready to go bedrooms does solve the root issue of a lack of supply. That lack of supply is what is driving up the costs and making people willing to be overcrowded. As the housing crisis resolves itself over the next few years (I’m betting on about a decade unless something major and unexpected happens) these rooming units will be vacated and a return to the “Normal” of the 90’s and early 2000’s will return.

    Readers comment:
    “It is proper that builders and real estate agents are telling people to spend above their means by adding side business income to the qualification? Is that sustainable? Is it normal that we now expect a extra mini bedroom to hold our clothes when a closet used to do? Is it normal that each bedroom have its own bathroom, and each bathroom have an extra sink?”

    You actually aren’t allowed to use the “side business income” to the qualifications. When you apply for your mortgage you are not allowed to use the possible rent money in order to become qualified for the mortgage. You have to qualify on your own strength. Is it sustainable, yes it is. I have a walk in closet to hold my clothes so I’m not sure what you are referring to. Maybe that people are buying bigger houses then before? Each bedroom having its own bathroom? Sounds like you are talking about some luxury home. And each bathroom an extra sink? You must be alluding to houses getting bigger. My home for example was built in 1988. Its designed and configured like homes built in 1988. There is nothing weird going on here. Its just a “Normal” house.

    Readers comment:
    “Whether you’re ready to admit it or not, you are renting rooms due to financial pressure. If you won a lottery, I’m convinced you wouldn’t continue sharing your bathroom with tenants.”

    I currently don’t share my bathroom with my tenants anyways. I’ve got a private en-suite. My friends that live here are also living in a far better rental situation then I’ve ever rented. I used to rent a really small bedroom in a house with 7 people. I lived there for 4 years and had very little problems in that time span. Quite liked it in fact. I lived in another rental house that was built in the 50’s or 60’s. This house is far better then that house and the people that lived there are actually all with me now in this house.

    Sure, I could have different living arrangements. I could kick out all the people living with me and stay here. I’d be bored and lonely and certainly financially weaker then I am today but I could do it. I wouldn’t want to actually. I wish I had more space to have more rooms here because I barely see the people living here as is. I could also go buy a smaller house, an older house, etc but why should I? I like this house. I made my father who is a real estate agent show me an excessive number of homes before I ended up buying this house. I am happy here and see no disadvantage to living with people here. It’s also only 4 blocks from where I lived from 1996 to 2007 so I was from this area anyways. As I have kids my friends will end up having to find other places to go but that is going to be a long process stretching over years.

    Readers comment:
    “In many zones it’s perfectly legal to renovate one’s house and create a safe and legal rental suite. Why not do that?”

    This house is not laid out to make a legal rental suite. The floor plan would require excessive work to make that happen. And if I did make that happen the house wouldn’t suit my purposes that I want it to in 5, 10, 20 years from now. I’d have to waste more money renovating it back to this configuration. How would it having a legal suite make things any different though? We would still have the same number of people in the address as before. All it would do is chop up the house, add a redundant heating and cooling system, and other such things required to make a legal suite. That also illustrates a flaw with the current system of laws. An owner could live upstairs for example all alone and rent a basement suite to 10 people…That would be legal. But if the owner lived upstairs in a normal house and rents out 1-10 bedrooms it would be illegal. The current structure really doesn’t make any sense for these situations.

    —–

    Melissa, No facebook! …Well, that is probably smart. Twitter? Google Plus? This poses and interesting problem, lol. Do you personally know John Klein? He could relay info.

  43. Adam Knutson: “Also, why should I have to alleviate the housing crisis without payment?”
    Question: “Why should Adam get to take shortcuts and avoids costs that the responsible and legitimate landlords pay?”

    Adam Knutson: “How can you monitor “Rooming Houses” without violating my privacy though?”
    The public: “What’s your opposition to showing you have a safe rental unit? Your house was assessed this year and is subject to further inspection. Legitimate landlords cheerfully prove their units are safe and habitable.”

    Adam Knutson: “the biggest challenge facing renters right now is high rent prices. The solution to that is simple. Increase the supply of rentals”

    That’s oversimplified and short-sighted. Think hard about the start of your statement: “High rent prices”. Think hard about the ROOT cause of that. It’s high home prices. You and your real estate agent were part of creating that problem when you artificially jacked up the price.

    Before you react, don’t think I’m holding you solely responsible, but if you can look at it objectively, you are part of the problem.

    You wanted a house, and to beat the other bidders, you spent beyond your means and now you’re resorting to illegitimate landlording to afford it. You are further pumping up the housing bubble, increasing rents, creating a bigger problem, and making sure that when things reverse, the crash will be that much more harsh for everyone.

    To lower the standard and quality of rental units is therefore not a good solution. It’s a band aid quick fix that will open a few extra spots today, but it will ensure they will be unregulated and low end. It will also effectively condone the slumlording conditions that I’ve already written about.

    The current city council can strut around and brag they cured the housing crisis, and the problems will blow up a few years later and be someone else’s problem.

    By your logic, why don’t we suspend all building and fire codes. That too will open up spots.

    I’m more sympathetic to the issue than the attackers realize. But I’m thinking about real solutions, not reactionary measures that will come back and make the problem worse.

    Adam Knutson: “There is a sizable amount of people that have bought there first home and have done this in the last 5 years.”

    Yes, there have been a lot of Adam Knutson stories. Whether you realized it or not, you were creating the problem.

    The actual true long term solution (and the inevitable future) is to align housing costs with incomes. House costs have tripled or quadrupled while incomes stayed low. That’s why you find the need to artificially inflate your income with underground landlording. There are no big employers coming, so the incomes probably won’t rise.

    The city not only allows, but favors big construction and profit taking. The mayors and councilors who have created this crisis have blatant conflicts of interest.

    The city has final say on anything built or lived in. Yet they always say they have no control, a lie that is swallowed by the gullible public who use the supply and demand economic fable to justify it.

    What about if the city put a cap on mansions? Instead they give lavish tax breaks to the richest megaprojects that would be steaming ahead with or without the taxpayer’s bonus money.

    What if they incented 40 coop housing projects instead?

    There’s a lot of good ideas that could help the housing issue. But our construction association mayor and the real estate conflicted council would never allow them. And when you play into to their hands by overbuying and becoming an underground landlord, you unwittingly help them.

  44. Adam Knutson: “This house is not laid out to make a legal rental suite. The floor plan would require excessive work to make that happen.”

    I found the same thing with some of the lower priced properties I looked at. So I stepped up and paid more for a house that would suit the intended use, in a zone that allows it. The problem you complain about is solveable, you just don’t want to pay what a proper building and location would cost.

  45. I think I realize a couple problems we are having here in our discussion having read your response now. You are asking a lot of loaded questions(logical fallacy) which are actually false statements. You are failing to answer questions posed to you, thus avoiding the discussion at hand, and simply asking a different question.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Adam Knutson: “Also, why should I have to alleviate the housing crisis without payment?”
    Question: “Why should Adam get to take shortcuts and avoids costs that the responsible and legitimate landlords pay?””
    This is a loaded question. Essentially you are accusing me of taking shortcuts, avoiding costs, being irresponsible, being illegitimate and avoiding to pay costs that you think I should. Despite making all those accusations of me you fail to:
    1) State any shortcut. (I’m not taking shortcuts)
    2) State what costs you think I’m avoiding.(Provide no list of costs I’m avoiding)
    3) Have no evidence to suggest I am irresponsible
    4) Fail to show how I am Illegitimate
    5) Show any costs you think I should be paying.

    I should be the one who feels insulted in this conversation. But to try and ask that question anyways we’ll state that the need to increase the housing supply in Regina is so critical that I and all others like me should be allowed to do what we are doing.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Adam Knutson: “How can you monitor “Rooming Houses” without violating my privacy though?”
    The public: “What’s your opposition to showing you have a safe rental unit? Your house was assessed this year and is subject to further inspection. Legitimate landlords cheerfully prove their units are safe and habitable.””

    Again, Loaded question. Also fails to answer my question. I don’t have to show “The public” that I have a safe rental unit. I only have to show interested possible tenants this. That is a matter between me and the tenant not me and the general public. If you want to actually help tenants/landlords rent safe places there are easy ways to do this without violating peoples privacy. I’ve actually told a city official this and hope they will action it. My suggestion was to make a simple checklist for landlords and tenants to be able to see on the city’s website. It would cost hardly anything to do but what it would allow is for Landlords to know what is expected of them and it would educate the tenants on what to expect. If a tenant has that checklist and goes to view a property they will be able to see for themselves whether they should rent that place or move on.

    I think the whole Assessment process is flawed and our property tax system is horribly flawed and that is another discussion. But ultimately I know my Neighbor on one side spends about $1000 more a year on property tax then I do and the one on the other side what hundreds less then me. This is a completely goofy system. Do I or either neighbor consume more city services then the next guy? No, we all have the same police force, firefighter protection, roads, transit system, water system, snow plowing, etc. So why are we all paying different rates based on goofy things like if you have a backyard deck or not? Or if your basement is finished? How does that change anything else?

    As for further inspections we can have a lot of fun with that. That very statement shows that you think my privacy is not something valuable to protect. It also shows that you think the privacy of the people staying with me isn’t valuable to protect. I have said already that I don’t need or want this protection and will be very difficult to deal with if it goes that way.

    And that does bring me to the point I had about having the same rights and privileges as my home owner neighbor who doesn’t rent. If the fire department shows up at his place and says they want to inspect his place he can simply say, “This is a private dwelling” you may not enter and the fire department absolutely can’t enter. They can’t even get a court order to enter.(This info was provided by the city at the may 9th meeting). I was told on the other hand that because I have tenants that the fire department would be able to enter my dwelling. I think this is a farce. This is my Private dwelling and if I or my friends staying with me haven’t asked for the fire department to come by they should have to respect that it is in fact my private dwelling and I should enjoy that same right my owner occupied neighbor has.

    For the fire department to enter my neighbors home they would need “probably cause”. And they don’t have it based on hearsay. I should be afforded the same level of rights.

    Your statement that, “Legitimate landlords cheerfully prove their units are safe and habitable” is also false. Legitimate landlords simply have a safe and habitable property and show that to the possible tenants just like I do. I highly doubt they bring in a swarm of inspectors with the tenant to show them its safe everytime it is shown to a possible tenant. If they are subject to inspections I can guarantee that they aren’t “cheerfully” doing what they are being subjegated too.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Adam Knutson: “the biggest challenge facing renters right now is high rent prices. The solution to that is simple. Increase the supply of rentals”

    That’s oversimplified and short-sighted. Think hard about the start of your statement: “High rent prices”. Think hard about the ROOT cause of that. It’s high home prices. You and your real estate agent were part of creating that problem when you artificially jacked up the price.

    Before you react, don’t think I’m holding you solely responsible, but if you can look at it objectively, you are part of the problem.”

    It’s not over simplyfied or short sighted. Its a very well known fact. “High rent prices” are a function of market valuations of rent. Those valuation are driven by supply and demand.(You fail to recognize this fact and that amazes me). The ROOT cause of high rent prices isn’t because of high house prices. Rental Market price is driven by the supply and demand of available rents. And it is rent prices that drive house prices up(amongst other things). If house prices were really high but there was a bunch of empty rentals do you think the landlords would be able to get high rent? Don’t you think a landlord with an empty rental would be willing to take a tenant at a lower price then a landlord demanding high rent if there was other empty spaces for that tenant to go?

    I also didn’t artificially jack up the price. I presented an offer to the seller that he agreed upon. We were both free actors in the deal and we didn’t artificially inflate nothing. Also the claim that my Realtor (my father in this case) would artifically inflate the price is preposterous! You are actually suggest my own father let me pay too much for this house?

    I know you aren’t holding me solely responsibility. We are the subject of a market here and that market is a mass of free people dealing with each other in the housing market. That Market is being driven by a number of factors but the main bottom line is a growing number of people trying to get housing where the supply is struggling to keep up.

    Readers comment:
    “You wanted a house, and to beat the other bidders, you spent beyond your means and now you’re resorting to illegitimate landlording to afford it. You are further pumping up the housing bubble, increasing rents, creating a bigger problem, and making sure that when things reverse, the crash will be that much more harsh for everyone.”

    I didn’t actually have to beat other bidders. I was the only bidder on the house when the deal went down. I did not spend beyond my means. That is a false statement. Claiming I’m resorting to resorting to illegitimate landlording is also a weak claim. The mayor has noted that this is an “antiquited” bylaw and needs to change. He even put it into “Abeyance” which would suggest I’m currently legal during that “abeyance”. The housing bubble is an interesting question at this time but is probably better viewed as a national issue then a local one. I, by increasing supply of rentals, am certainly not increasing rents. I am in fact increasing the supply of rentals because these rooms weren’t rented before and that would lower rental prices.

    I don’t buy into your claim that what I am doing will make the crash that much more harsh for everyone. In fact this would probably soften it.

    Reader’s comment:
    “To lower the standard and quality of rental units is therefore not a good solution. It’s a band aid quick fix that will open a few extra spots today, but it will ensure they will be unregulated and low end. It will also effectively condone the slumlording conditions that I’ve already written about.”

    This is another set of false claims. It infers I am lower the standard and quality of rental units which is false. My rental units are better then anything I had ever rented when I was a renter. Ensuring that they are unregulated doesn’t mean they will be low end. Odds are they will be better because the owner lives at that property and I think most people(even you by your earliest statements) think it would be better if the owner has to live there too.

    You also seem to infer that I am “slumlording” or that my actions will condone slumlording. This claim is blatantly false.

    Reader’s comment:
    “The current city council can strut around and brag they cured the housing crisis, and the problems will blow up a few years later and be someone else’s problem.”

    If 5000 retired people in Regina with empty bedrooms took on 1-2 renters this housing crisis would be solved overnight. I am waiting and hoping council makes the right decisions to solve this problem.

    Readers comment:
    “By your logic, why don’t we suspend all building and fire codes. That too will open up spots.”

    Technically speaking it might open up more spots. I haven’t seen any suggestions from you which will increase the supply of housing.

    Readers comment:
    “I’m more sympathetic to the issue than the attackers realize. But I’m thinking about real solutions, not reactionary measures that will come back and make the problem worse.”

    I realize you are sympathetic to this situation…Hopefully you’ll find some real solutions in this situation. How exactly do you think renting rooms in my home is a “reactionary measure” that will make the problem worse?

    Readers comment:
    “Adam Knutson: “There is a sizable amount of people that have bought there first home and have done this in the last 5 years.”

    Yes, there have been a lot of Adam Knutson stories. Whether you realized it or not, you were creating the problem.”

    False. I am not creating the problem. I believe I’ve shown how I wasn’t creating the problem. Plus I’ve lived in Regina for many years so I’m not doing anything different then before.

    Readers comment:
    “The actual true long term solution (and the inevitable future) is to align housing costs with incomes. House costs have tripled or quadrupled while incomes stayed low. That’s why you find the need to artificially inflate your income with underground landlording. There are no big employers coming, so the incomes probably won’t rise.”

    How do you intend to realign housing costs with incomes if you have restrictive policies or are preventing supply from entering the market? Actually incomes are going up. If you’d like I can get someone from the economical statistically division of the Department of Finance to comment on this matter. I’ve discussed this problem extensively with him and I’m sure he has a full understanding of the problem and the economics that drive this situation.

    What I’m doing isn’t “artificial”. That makes that whole sentence false. Also your claim that no big employers are coming is false. Haliburton for example just moved into town an there is a huge subdivision of industry coming here. Not only that but Regina Currently has one of the top ten lowest unemployment rates in North America. That is a driving force of rising incomes. The data also confirms incomes are rising in Saskatchewan. Would you like to see that data too?

    Readers comment:
    “The city not only allows, but favors big construction and profit taking. The mayors and councilors who have created this crisis have blatant conflicts of interest.”

    …I could see that…I’m not sure how

    Readers comment:
    “The city has final say on anything built or lived in. Yet they always say they have no control, a lie that is swallowed by the gullible public who use the supply and demand economic fable to justify it.”

    I’m not even sure I should justify this with a response…

    Readers comment:
    “What about if the city put a cap on mansions? Instead they give lavish tax breaks to the richest megaprojects that would be steaming ahead with or without the taxpayer’s bonus money.

    What if they incented 40 coop housing projects instead?”

    What’s a cap on mansions gonna do? Artificially drive rich people away to other cities. I’m just for fair taxation. 40 coop houses…Doesn’t the format of a coop have nothing to do with city government? So are you for the Cities new Cash payout for building rental units?

    Readers comment:
    “There’s a lot of good ideas that could help the housing issue. But our construction association mayor and the real estate conflicted council would never allow them. And when you play into to their hands by overbuying and becoming an underground landlord, you unwittingly help them.”

    I reject your claim that overbuying and becoming an underground landlord is playing into their hand. I am also losing faith that you are understanding the economic implications that I am explaining here.

    Adam Knutson

  46. Readers comment:
    “Adam Knutson: “This house is not laid out to make a legal rental suite. The floor plan would require excessive work to make that happen.”

    I found the same thing with some of the lower priced properties I looked at. So I stepped up and paid more for a house that would suit the intended use, in a zone that allows it. The problem you complain about is solveable, you just don’t want to pay what a proper building and location would cost.”

    Yeah, its very solvable. Repeal the antiquated bylaw.

  47. Adam:

    “1) State any shortcut. (I’m not taking shortcuts)
    2) State what costs you think I’m avoiding.(Provide no list of costs I’m avoiding)
    3) Have no evidence to suggest I am irresponsible
    4) Fail to show how I am Illegitimate
    5) Show any costs you think I should be paying”

    1 – You are trying to operate a rental business without a legal rental suite, in a zone where you knew it was disallowed. It’s shortcut over shortcut.

    2 – You yourself stated you didn’t wish to pay the extra cost of a proper house with rental suite. I suggested affordable renovations that would help make your business legal, but you further said you were unwilling to pay for those.

    3 & 4 – By your own words and admission you are trying to run a rental business that isn’t in legal compliance.

    5 – Buy a house with rental suite. Buy in a zone that allows it. Renovate your house. Easy, but you’d have to sacrifice a portion of your profits.

    The great news, and the breakthrough I hope you eventually realize is that YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING YOU SAY YOU WANT TO DO! You just have to spend a relatively small amount of money. For now, you’re stubbornly refusing. The core issue is that doing the right thing will dip into your wallet and you don’t want to do that. That’s your choice.

    It’s no different than someone driving unlicensed and uninsured, because they don’t like paying those costs.

    Don’t be offended. There’s no insult or injustice here, just a statement of the facts.

  48. Adam: “I don’t have to show “The public” that I have a safe rental unit.”

    Why not? My restaurant has to constantly prove and re-prove it’s safe. My garage has to prove and re-prove it’s certified. And so on. That’s what grown-up businesses do. We welcome it because it confirms our legitimacy. It protects us and the public from illegitimate operators that only wants to pocket the profits without bearing the costs and responsibilities of upholding minimum standards.

  49. All your comments on probably cause and so on I think are not based in fact. In brief though, the driving issue is public safety.

    We don’t leave it to nightclub operators to decide their own occupancy and fire safety, and we don’t leave it up to the patrons to make their own decision on whether they want to visit or not.

  50. Adam “If you’d like I can get someone from the economical statistically division of the Department of Finance to comment on this matter.”

    I would definitely like it if you make good on this promise. I’d love to hear how someone from the economical statistically division of the Department of Finance can justify the Regina housing bubble.

    He’d have to counter everything his bosses have said and done, including their regular comments and policy trying to discourage and reign in the risky practices that you are your father are doing and promoting.

    Adam, you (and your father, and others) are pumping up the rent price bubble by pumping up the cost of housing. I agree you are not alone in that.

  51. Readers comment:
    “1 – You are trying to operate a rental business without a legal rental suite, in a zone where you knew it was disallowed. It’s shortcut over shortcut.

    2 – You yourself stated you didn’t wish to pay the extra cost of a proper house with rental suite. I suggested affordable renovations that would help make your business legal, but you further said you were unwilling to pay for those.

    3 & 4 – By your own words and admission you are trying to run a rental business that isn’t in legal compliance.

    5 – Buy a house with rental suite. Buy in a zone that allows it. Renovate your house. Easy, but you’d have to sacrifice a portion of your profits.

    The great news, and the breakthrough I hope you eventually realize is that YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING YOU SAY YOU WANT TO DO! You just have to spend a relatively small amount of money. For now, you’re stubbornly refusing. The core issue is that doing the right thing will dip into your wallet and you don’t want to do that. That’s your choice.

    It’s no different than someone driving unlicensed and uninsured, because they don’t like paying those costs.

    Don’t be offended. There’s no insult or injustice here, just a statement of the facts.”

    1 – I’ve shown you that I am not operating a business and backed it up with the City of Regina Administration document stating that I am not running a business. And yet you keep going on about this make believe “business”. I am not running a “legal suite” that’s true and I don’t want to be. I am just living the same as people do when they rent a house together.(I should just pay my wife a rental fee and me and the other people living here can rent it from her. Guess what, that would be legal and nobody would have to move, lol). Then you go back to claiming I knew it was disallowed which is just like you. You repeatedly try to peddle false statements in this discussion. I have even told you that not I or pretty much anyone in this city knew about this bylaw. In fact it is so old and outdated the Mayor has called it “antiquated”.

    2 – A “Proper house” with a rental suite would probably be found to cost less then the house I bought. Thank you very much. You suggested ridiculous renovations(I can forgive you for that because you haven’t seen the layout of the house) but the renovations would be unwise to do on this house. You refer to this imaginary “business” again.

    3 & 4 – No. By my own words I have shown how I am not a rental business.

    5 – I am uninterested in doing any of those suggestions. Technically speaking I could form a corporation and then rent this house from that corporation. Since Corporations don’t live in houses then the owner would not live in the house and we would no longer be a “Rooming House”. I have an endless list of legal options to make this legal but the best choice is simply to update the bylaws to legalize some freedom. Hopefully the right thing happens at City Council.

    Doing the right thing is to repeal excessive, ridiculous, outdated, “antiquated” and unhelpful bylaws.

    It is different then driving unlicensed and uninsured.(But I can tell you like the nanny state offending peoples right to travel already).

    I am not offended or insulted. There is an injustice though and that is an injustice against private property rights and freedoms. There is however minimal statement of facts in any of your comments so far.

    Readers comments:
    “Adam: “I don’t have to show “The public” that I have a safe rental unit.”

    Why not? My restaurant has to constantly prove and re-prove it’s safe. My garage has to prove and re-prove it’s certified. And so on. That’s what grown-up businesses do. We welcome it because it confirms our legitimacy. It protects us and the public from illegitimate operators that only wants to pocket the profits without bearing the costs and responsibilities of upholding minimum standards.”

    You’ve used lots of “kettle logic” trying to defend your position on the matter and now carrying on arguing with more fallacies. But to address this matter. “The Public” doesn’t rent my bedroom. One person rents it from me and needs to be happy with it. Also, as I stated a little earlier, I can tell you love the nanny state. Your restaurant does have to prove and re-prove its safe. Its such a waste of time. Your garage has to do the same. Its a waste of time and resources and drives up the cost people have to pay for food and car repairs. No, jumping through some minimum hoops that the government puts in place doesn’t make you a “grown up” business. Offering a high quality product or service at competitive pricing and building and maintaining a good reputation would qualify you more as a “grown up” business then jumping through the “minimum” hoops you want to lay on the ground. I refuse to accept your use of the word “we” as I’m sure many businesses out there understand there is a ton of excessive regulation which hinders their businesses and doesn’t “confirm its legitimacy”. I know you must just feel so good when that inspector comes by for a surface level inspection every once in a while makes you feel like you run such a “grown up” business but other business owners would rather just get back to doing what they do and maintianing their reputation and focusing on their customers. Only question that popped into my head reading what you wrote indicating that you are running two “Grown up business” why are you looking to buy a house next to the All Night Massage House? Something just seems out of place here. Maybe I don’t realize you take 3 month long vacations around the world every year and probably have a tough time deciding if you are going to drive the lambo or ferrari to work…Maybe I should digress but something seems amiss here.

    Readers comment:
    “All your comments on probably cause and so on I think are not based in fact. In brief though, the driving issue is public safety.

    We don’t leave it to nightclub operators to decide their own occupancy and fire safety, and we don’t leave it up to the patrons to make their own decision on whether they want to visit or not.”

    Riigghhhttt….Just like how my claim an owner renting rooms was illegal wasn’t based on “facts” either? Or the other myriad of facts I’ve had to correct for your benefit so far in this discussion? I’ll let you go research some actual facts this time. It’ll probably be a good exercise for you in getting the right facts.

    No, we put excessive regulations on nightclub operators on a number of things. And you tell the patrons where they can and cannot go. I get it, you like big government that tells people where and how they can build and who can live there and where they can go when, etc, etc, etc. Some of us have actually “Grown up” and don’t need a “Government Nanny” after we left home.

    —————-

    Readers comment:
    “Adam “If you’d like I can get someone from the economical statistically division of the Department of Finance to comment on this matter.”

    I would definitely like it if you make good on this promise. I’d love to hear how someone from the economical statistically division of the Department of Finance can justify the Regina housing bubble.

    He’d have to counter everything his bosses have said and done, including their regular comments and policy trying to discourage and reign in the risky practices that you are your father are doing and promoting.

    Adam, you (and your father, and others) are pumping up the rent price bubble by pumping up the cost of housing. I agree you are not alone in that.”

    I’ve emailed my friend over in the Department of Finance about this discussion. Hopefully he has the time to come read this.

    The Housing bubble is currently driven in Regina by an increase swing in population in recent years and a housing supply that was choked off in 2007-2008 and hasn’t been able to catch up since.

    His bosses have taken no action to reign in the actions of myself or my father. I’m not even sure what you could be referring to here.

    The market of supply vs demand is pumping up the rent price. Stopping people like me would just make the situation worse. I don’t know why you haven’t accepted that fact yet either.

    Adam Knutson

  52. 1 – Your own words: ” I am not running a legal suite” Enough said. You are running an illegal rental operation (Or were, until you got caught.)

    2 – “the renovations would be unwise to do on this house”

    Then you should have bought a house and location suitable for your rental business. You still can, get your father to help you find one. Your budget is forcing you to be an underground landlord, so get your father to co-sign and help you stay out of trouble. He’ll be most eager to sell your house anyway. Now’s the best time to buy. And sell. That’s what the real estate agents are saying.

    5 – Not sure I’d personally buy your creative legal twist myself, but why don’t you go for it and see if CRA likes it too?

    Based on you not even being willing to install a toilet, I suspect you will also balk at the costs of incorporating.

  53. Forcing drivers to be licensed and insured isn’t “nanny state offending people’s right to travel”. It’s protecting the innocent public from irresponsible operators who are too cheap to do things right. It indicates stubborn reluctance to take any financial or moral responsibility, and that money is the only motivation.

    Deciphering your kettle logic, you say only the tenant has to be satisfied with your rental business, and it’s nobody else’s business. I disagree and say there is a public interest at stake.

    By your logic, passengers should be free to choose a drunken unlicensed bus driver to get lower fares, parents should pick a molester’s discount day care, and restaurants should no longer have health standards so that diners or their next of kin can decide which ones are good.

  54. Adam – suppose that your wish is granted and tomorrow your rental business model is legitimized.

    Let’s agree this would open some cheap rental spots up. Just for discussion, let’s temporarily assume everyone doing this is clean, safe, fair, honest, and pleasant. Let’s also temporarily agree that there’s lots of nice benefits.

    Now…. being purely objective – what potential disadvantages would you see this creating for others? Other people living nearby? The public? Renters? City officials? The pre-existing (legal) landlords?

    For the moment we won’t qualify these and say which disadvantages are really bad and which ones are only kind of bad. We won’t say which ones are terrible and which ones are tolerable, or which ones are more than made up for by corresponding advantages – just list the potential drawbacks.

    Briefly, can you show that you objectively understand the tradeoffs and balances and impacts that such a change could have on people other than yourself?

  55. Readers comment:
    “1 – Your own words: ” I am not running a legal suite” Enough said. You are running an illegal rental operation (Or were, until you got caught.)

    2 – “the renovations would be unwise to do on this house”

    Then you should have bought a house and location suitable for your rental business. You still can, get your father to help you find one. Your budget is forcing you to be an underground landlord, so get your father to co-sign and help you stay out of trouble. He’ll be most eager to sell your house anyway. Now’s the best time to buy. And sell. That’s what the real estate agents are saying.

    5 – Not sure I’d personally buy your creative legal twist myself, but why don’t you go for it and see if CRA likes it too?

    Based on you not even being willing to install a toilet, I suspect you will also balk at the costs of incorporating.”

    1 – “Legal suite” has a specific definition in the bylaw. Most people do not have legal suites being rented. I think that puts lots of unnecessary costs on a home also just to fit that definition.

    2 – Back to that business talk…Guess you’ll never drop that false claim. I’m happy with this house and would like to stay here.

    5 – Me and the CRA are doing just fine the way things are right now. Canadian Government recognizes that making housing cost more with tax policy would be a bad thing and are rather favorable to the situation.

    Readers comment:
    “Forcing drivers to be licensed and insured isn’t “nanny state offending people’s right to travel”. It’s protecting the innocent public from irresponsible operators who are too cheap to do things right. It indicates stubborn reluctance to take any financial or moral responsibility, and that money is the only motivation.

    Deciphering your kettle logic, you say only the tenant has to be satisfied with your rental business, and it’s nobody else’s business. I disagree and say there is a public interest at stake.

    By your logic, passengers should be free to choose a drunken unlicensed bus driver to get lower fares, parents should pick a molester’s discount day care, and restaurants should no longer have health standards so that diners or their next of kin can decide which ones are good.”

    It certainly restrists peoples freedom requiring licenses. See the definition of freedom here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom

    You are allowed to disagree. I’m not really sure why the public cares about my relation with the tenants are that are here. If myself or the tenants raise a problem then and only then should the public want to become engaged but until that happens the public should leave us alone and respect our privacy.

    People are already free to decide on things that are bad for them. People should take some responsibility for their own lives and well being. We shouldn’t be reliant on government to take care of us. You pose the most obvious answers to those questions too, lol. Why would anyone ride with a drunken unlicensed(license wouldn’t bother me) bus driver? When you get on that bus you would know you are taking an unnecessary risk of your life. What parent would choose a molester discount day care? And who would eat at a low health standard restaurant?

    Reader comment:
    “Adam – suppose that your wish is granted and tomorrow your rental business model is legitimized.

    Let’s agree this would open some cheap rental spots up. Just for discussion, let’s temporarily assume everyone doing this is clean, safe, fair, honest, and pleasant. Let’s also temporarily agree that there’s lots of nice benefits.

    Now…. being purely objective – what potential disadvantages would you see this creating for others? Other people living nearby? The public? Renters? City officials? The pre-existing (legal) landlords?

    For the moment we won’t qualify these and say which disadvantages are really bad and which ones are only kind of bad. We won’t say which ones are terrible and which ones are tolerable, or which ones are more than made up for by corresponding advantages – just list the potential drawbacks.

    Briefly, can you show that you objectively understand the tradeoffs and balances and impacts that such a change could have on people other than yourself?”

    There would be some relatively small changes to the existing neighborhood. You would see a slight increase in traffic. Say a house goes from 2 to 4 people you would probably get double the traffic and more cars visible on the street or parking on the properties. From the front of my property considering the most visible 12 houses to me there are 15 parking spots that would be contained on peoples property an another about 10 could be handled on the streets. These 12 properties could easily handle up to 25 renters with cars and more renters without cars before parking would become over capacity. As it stands I don’t believe there are 25 empty bedrooms in these 12 houses. It is possible that they could max out there current bedroom load and not overload the parking situation.(I understand in some neighborhoods parking has become an issue).

    Traffic on my street is very very light. Yes, there would be more traffic though.

    As it stands I never hear more then my neighbors air conditioners for noise. Noise could be a problem but only if there are bad tenants or landlords.

    Garbage would be increased. Not sure if that would put a strain on the collection process the city uses but the people will be here in the city regardless. As it stands even if I cut both the front and back yard of grass I can’t fill up my garbage bin. I don’t know how people are overfilling them.

    I’m trying to find disadvantages for the things or people you listed. I can think of many advantages.
    For others? Less homelessness with rent prices coming back down
    Other people living nearby? I’ve listed possiblities of garbage, traffic and parking. Noise only with bad tenants or landlords.
    The public? I’m really struggling to come up with a disadvantage of the public.
    Renters? I see more supply, less cost…Disadvantages don’t come up if we assume clean, safe, fair, honest and pleasant.
    City Officials? I can’t see a disadvantage under the assumed clean, safe, fair, honest and pleasant condition.

    Pre-Existing landlords? They may see a drop in the price they command and that would be bad for them. They may also lose tenants if they have low quality units. They will either have to get out of the game or bring these units back up to par. I know that they do have an advantage over those who have sharing agreements like myself. I’m am always surprised when people turn down my place and go rent something that is more expensive then my place and often is lower quality. They are willing to pay often hundreds of dollars more but that is what they are willing to do to have their “own” place. That is their own choice though and if they are willing to pay that much more for their own place I have no right to stop them.

    ————-

    I’m heading out to get some food in a bit. Post a spot if you want to have supper.

  56. PS. Your comment about me being unwilling to install a toilet is false ;) That and I’ve actually spent money on certain upgrades just to make the tenants happy.

  57. Adam Knutson: “Most people do not have legal suites being rented. I think that puts lots of unnecessary costs on a home also just to fit that definition.”

    Actually not true. The vast majority of suites in Regina are legal. There’s some rogue operators doing the illegal suite thing like you are, but there are legitimate businesses that each operate hundreds if not thousands of units each.

    Adam Knutson: “Back to that business talk…Guess you’ll never drop that false claim. I’m happy with this house and would like to stay here.”

    Whether you’re happy with your home business doesn’t change the fact that it’s a business.

    Adam Knutson “Canadian Government … are rather favorable to the situation.”

    Untrue. They are terrified of the housing bubble your father and you helped pump up, hence the continuous dire warnings and constant constriction of mortgage terms and conditions. When your friend from shows up to teach us economically statistics, that will be obvious.

    I asked you to make an unqualified list of the impacts you’d have on your neighbors, but you just made a lot of excuses about how the extra traffic, parking, noise, garbage and lower rental standard won’t be a problem and that anyone you bother or inconvenience doesn’t matter. And I think that’s the issue – you are not seeing outside of your own world.

    Adam Knutson: “Your comment about me being unwilling to install a toilet is false”

    You already said you didn’t want to spend any money on renovations. Making a suite is easy, you just have a spend a few bucks on a safe and separate entrance, bathroom, and kitchen. You’ve repeatedly said you don’t want to spend the relatively small cost it would require to go legit. You constantly dismiss these upgrades as useless, but you would be shocked to learn there are valid safety reasons for all of them.

    Your call for drivers, day care operators and food preparers to be unregulated and claiming “freedom” is about being free to have our kids watched by molesters, would be disastrous and tragic. There’s reasons why we have regulations and safety standards. The main need for such rules is that there are some people out there who are just selfish and interested only in making money without a care for anyone else.

  58. This conversation seems to be revolving around what the law is. The purpose of the meetings is to determine what the law should be.

    First I think it is important to point out that the ethics or morality of a situation is not determined by its present legality. There are many examples both historical and contemporary of immoral things being legal and moral things being illegal.
    The “economical statistically division” does not exist in the ministry of finance :P but I suspect that I am being referred to.

    First off the housing bubble is very complicated and what I say here is not going to cover every aspect of the issue.

    I will start by saying that reader is correct in saying that people believing that they can rent out rooms in their house will increase the price that people are willing to pay for a house; this will place upwards pressure on the price of a house, but will also increase the supply of rental units putting downward pressure on rental prices. Home ownership and renting are not perfectly comparable goods.
    However, I believe this has accounted for a very small percent of the increase in housing prices because there has always existed the assumption that home owners could rent out room in their houses; this did not change in 2006.

    The Regina housing bubble has 3 primary sources:

    1) Economic and population growth – Regina has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and there is no larger city in the western world (North America & Europe) that has a lower unemployment rate (meaning that places like Bismark North Dakota have a lower unemployment rate but they also only have 61,000 people) The low unemployment has been drawing thousands of people into the province. Actually the population has been growing so fast that the traditional methods of measuring it have begun to break down. It is becoming a significant problem across government because services are being overloaded with people that officially don’t exist. Even the conference board of Canada is running a special Saskatchewan Institute just to try and figure out what is going on. Of course none of this is being helped by the cuts to Statistics Canada and the loss of the long form census.

    2) Record low interest rates – in response to the global financial crisis in 2008 the Bank of Canada lowered the bank rate to 0% and then quickly raised it to 1%. Lower interest rates allow for a home owner to purchase a more expensive house while keeping their payments the same. For example

    A 25 year mortgage with a 3% interest rate and $1500 payments will result in a purchase price of $316,314

    A 25 year mortgage with a 6% interest rate and $1500 payments will result in a purchase price of $232,810

    A 25 year mortgage with a 10% interest rate and $1500 payments will result in a purchase price of $165,070

    As you can see price is very sensitive to changes in interest rates. Housing prices behave very similarly to bond prices, they go up when interest rates go down and they go down when interest rates go up.

    3) Lack of supply -Over the 80’s 90’s 00’s Saskatchewan developed a culture of pessimism, there was very little housing construction and the population was falling. When the boom started few people believed it, it was not until the boom was well underway that people actually started to accept that it was real but by that time a significant housing shortage had developed. For the past 3 year construction has been booming but they are a few years behind, as a significant housing backlog developed over the early boom years. It will take an even greater acceleration of housing construction or a reduction in population growth before the market returns to a sustainable equilibrium. Housing construction is restrained by the labour shortage, and a slowing of population growth seems unlikely as long as our industries are producing the commodities demanded by the rapidly developing economies in Asia.

    The Bank of Canada, and the federal government, is frequently telling Canadians that they are borrowing beyond their means and that the long term consequences will be dire. Reader is right about this as well, but the bank of Canada is a bit of a misnomer in reality it should be called the bank of Ontario, they pay little heed to what is happening in the west. As a rule of thumb whenever the Bank of Canada says” Canadians” replace it with “Ontarians” Ontario is running a much larger housing bubble than we are here and their economic fundamentals are much weaker. A lot of people suspect that Ontario is going to blow up some time soon. I suspect that when Ontario blows up the bank of Canada will lower interest rates, pushing up housing prices here, and it will create a new wave of economic refugees that will come pouring into western Canada even further exacerbating our housing bubble.

  59. “This conversation seems to be revolving around what the law is. The purpose of the meetings is to determine what the law should be.”

    That’s an astute statement as are several of your other ones.

    But this one is not:

    “increase in housing prices because there has always existed the assumption that home owners could rent out rooms in their houses; this did not change in 2006”

    No. It was theoretically possible that you could have tried to get money for a room in your house in 2006. But since there was an ocean of much superior housing options at low prices, that would be have made that a pointlessly marginal opportunity. Therefore rooming side income was not priced into the new or resale market in 2006. Real estate agents didn’t start dangling that carrot until later in 2007, and even then it was sparing. Now, rental income seems to be more than just priced in, for many people like Adam and real estate sellers, it’s become financially mandatory.

    Forgive me for saying, but #3 seems to be the kind of historical revisionism that John Gormley likes to spin. I lived through house price booms and busts in the years you reference. Subjective opinions on the mentality of Saskatchewan people aside, I’ll stick to the facts and just say that your presentation of those periods isn’t correct regarding house pricing.

    Re #2 – While I agree with educating people on how radically levered house prices are sensitive to various factors, choosing interest rates during the comparison period is one of the worst factors you could select.

    In fact, retail borrowing rates have been relatively flat during the whole Regina housing bubble formation. So your argument that the prices have exploded in step with lowering of rates is undermined by the fact interest rates haven’t moved much. Doing 3% to 10% comparison is a bit silly given that run of the mill typical mortgage rates have hovered around 3-4% during the duration. And besides, 10% rates aren’t coming any time soon.

    A more relevant factor would have been the effect of 30-35-40 year terms and ultra high ratios arising from zero and equivalent to zero equity situations. These are factors your federal counterparts are desperately trying to reel in because of the housing bubble that Adam (and I think ? you ) say doesn’t exist.

    I’d agree with you that a significant and sustainable job boom could justify a short term housing cost spike. But I’m not yet convinced we have that here. Suppose we agree some number, let’s call it “a whole bunch” of people rushed to Saskatchewan for jobs. Surely even you can see that the same phenomenon could cause a sudden and corresponding outrush for where ever the next perceived boom is?

    Also unsaid, and perhaps unrealized by many, is the amount of Saskatchewan’s recent in-migration that came because we were one of the final places to restrict immigrant nominee programs. Breakdowns seem hard to come by, but my impression is that a significant portion of Sask’s recent population increase was through these programs, not through vast job creation.

    The employment figures you rely on I believe are distorted by low pay low grade jobs that don’t create sustainable permanent family situations and don’t offer advancement. Everyone knows that fast food and retail have had a hard time finding people and that it’s hard to fill unskilled hard labour at $10-12/hour.

    But it’s been 21 years since the a really big new employer moved to Regina with net new high paying jobs. Having a low employment rate is one thing, but if it’s based on a bias of low quality low pay jobs, one should be careful.

    Given the generous political salting in your response, I fear you may be of the belief that Saskatchewan is different, and that we will be immune to the economic forces that affect every other place in the world?

  60. Whatever department you represent, I’d kind of hoped you bring the education that there are certain healthy ratios of living costs to income, and that Adam’s situation, like that of many here in Regina, is distinctly unhealthy.

    When housing cost rises 300% but income only rises 10%, that creates dangerously out of balance ratios.

    It’s open to some discussion over an exact percentage number, but housing that costs more than a third of one’s stabilized and predictable income is dangerous. Having tiny or zero equity as the housing bubble sets new daily peaks is also dangerous.

    Real estate agents try to sell overpriced housing by playing on everyone’s wish to have that fancy house, and to have it now instead of saving until they can afford it. Suggesting side income to help justify the overspending has become a critical part of the sales tactic. In Adam’s case, the side income was not financially or legally rational. But that didn’t get in the way of making the sale.

    I’ve lost count of how many real estate agents I’ve heard say “Your budget is $1,500, and the payments on this house would only be $2,300. All you need to do is a get a renter, charge them $1000, and you’ll be MAKING money.” Who doesn’t like making free money?

    Of course they forget that a good portion of the $1000 would be taxable, that after mortgage renewal, the payment will be $2,500, that your insurer will want an extra $200, that there will be months with no tenant, carpets to replace, appliances to fix, toilets to unblock, stadium taxes, garbage taxes, water increases, and so on.

    Whole industries including the media brainwash us on the idea that if you don’t own a house you’re nothing. It’s not universally true. In the example above I’d be happier paying $2,000 rent and letting a landlord worry about the ongoing headaches and predictable value destruction.

    Those are the kind of points I hoped you’d bring.

  61. Sask Ministry of Finance rep: “our industries are producing the commodities demanded by the rapidly developing economies in Asia.”

    Yes…. sort of.

    Do you mean oil and natural gas, which USA realized they can more affordably extract via North Dakota?

    Or do you mean uranium, that civilizations are avoiding after watching the industry leader Japan prove it’s nearly impossible to guarantee is safe?

    Or do you mean potash, which is in multi-year decline, and just took a severe body blow? Potash, the industry that pays optional royalties based on the ever delayed promise of short-term jobs, but which delays and downsizes projects every year?

    Make no mistake, I’m happy to have these resources. But unlike past and present governments, I understand these are all non-renewable, and that once cashed out, can never help us ever again.

    I also know they are subject to global forces that treat our million population like it’s a cork in the ocean.

  62. “No. It was theoretically possible that you could have tried to get money for a room in your house in 2006. But since there was an ocean of much superior housing options at low prices, that would be have made that a pointlessly marginal opportunity. Therefore rooming side income was not priced into the new or resale market in 2006. Real estate agents didn’t start dangling that carrot until later in 2007, and even then it was sparing. Now, rental income seems to be more than just priced in, for many people like Adam and real estate sellers, it’s become financially mandatory.”

    I am personally aware of multiple people who rented rooms in houses prior to 2006, this housing arrangement is not a theoretical construct it has been operating in the city since its inception. But i do agree with you that renting out rooms has become a necessity for home ownership in today’s market. However, I have seen no evidence to suggest that renting rooms is responsible for the housing bubble but in fact the opposite, the housing bubble has made it necessary to have renters.

    “In fact, retail borrowing rates have been relatively flat during the whole Regina housing bubble formation. So your argument that the prices have exploded in step with lowering of rates is undermined by the fact interest rates haven’t moved much. Doing 3% to 10% comparison is a bit silly given that run of the mill typical mortgage rates have hovered around 3-4% during the duration. And besides, 10% rates aren’t coming any time soon.”

    You are correct retail borrowing rates have been relatively flat for most of the housing bubble, but it is a mistake to assume that a change in interest rates would have an immediate affect on housing prices. There are well known lags in monetary policy, it can take years for a change in interest rates to be fully incorporated into asset prices.

    my use of 3% and 10% was not supposed to be a reflection of what i think is going to happen but were arbitrary numbers i used to demonstrate the sensitivity of housing prices to interest rates. that said in 2005 mortgage rates were around 6% and in 2010 they were around 3% that change in itself would account for about a 40% increase in the price of housing. mortgage rates were at 10% in the early 90’s.

    i suspect for numerous reasons that interest rates will not go up significantly over the next decade, low interest rates will continue to support high housing prices making it necessary for people to continue renting rooms in their houses in order to be able to afford home ownership.

    “A more relevant factor would have been the effect of 30-35-40 year terms and ultra high ratios arising from zero and equivalent to zero equity situations. These are factors your federal counterparts are desperately trying to reel in because of the housing bubble that Adam (and I think ? you ) say doesn’t exist.”

    the 30-35-40 year mortgages did play a roll in further blowing the housing bubble but only by about 20%, it is a quirk of the math, going from a 25 year mortgage to a 40 year mortgage only increases the price of the house you can buy by 21.23%. the remaining money all goes straight into bank profits. This is why when they got rid of the 30-35-40 year mortgages housing prices did not fall.

    Your last sentence is confusing. My entire post was about why there is a housing bubble, what makes you think that i don’t believe there is a housing bubble?

    “I’d agree with you that a significant and sustainable job boom could justify a short term housing cost spike. But I’m not yet convinced we have that here. Suppose we agree some number, let’s call it “a whole bunch” of people rushed to Saskatchewan for jobs. Surely even you can see that the same phenomenon could cause a sudden and corresponding outrush for where ever the next perceived boom is?”

    Your statement here especially the line “But I’m not yet convinced we have that here” is what i am referring to in my third point where i say “Saskatchewan developed a culture of pessimism. When the boom started few people believed it.”

    The boom has already been going on for 7 years, how long does it have to go before you do not consider it to be temporary? Do you consider Calgary to be in a temporary boom?

    Saskatchewan is booming despite the rest of the world and does not appear to be slowing, we are booming despite the Euro crisis, despite the Global financial crisis, despite Fukuskima. Which scenario seems more likely to you, that the global economy will recover and demand will increase for the products Saskatchewan produces, or the global economy will flounder and fall to levels that are as of yet unprecedented. The outlook for Saskatchewan is very positive and i see no reason why people will stop coming here. However, for the sake of argument, lets say people do stop coming here, then the housing market will correct itself and the rooming house issue will disappear just as it was a non issue in the 90’s.

    “The employment figures you rely on I believe are distorted by low pay low grade jobs that don’t create sustainable permanent family situations and don’t offer advancement. Everyone knows that fast food and retail have had a hard time finding people and that it’s hard to fill unskilled hard labour at $10-12/hour.”

    the unemployment rate has fallen over the past decade, there are more jobs being created than there are people moving into the city.

    People that work at Walmart and McDonalds still need a place to live. What are you suggesting?

    There are retail and fast food restaurants in every city they are not unique to Regina how do they make us different from anywhere else?

    The fact that these people make relatively little money means that they need cheaper places to live, they are not able to shell out half a million for a house. A rooming house is ideal for these people as they usually represent the lowest cost form of housing.

    My concern is that if a 25 year old working at Walmart lives in a house with his parents it is ok, but if a 25 year old working at Walmart lives in a house with his friends parents then he is a criminal.

    “But it’s been 21 years since the a really big new employer moved to Regina with net new high paying jobs. Having a low employment rate is one thing, but if it’s based on a bias of low quality low pay jobs, one should be careful.”

    When has a large employer ever moved to Saskatchewan? All of Saskatchewan’s big businesses started out small and grew organically over time, ex Brandt, Harvard developments, Saskpower, sasktel, Co-op, potash corp, Cameco, Gasbuddy. Others are multinationals that have grown here organically or via take overs, like Glencore, Everaz, Mosaic, Agrium, Haliburton, Cenovus, yet others are weird hybrids like the GTH. That is not even considering doctors, lawyers and trades.

    Jobs do not show up in lumps of 100 they show up a few at a time and accumulate.

    According to the conference board of Canada Regina has the 4th highest per capital income in the country behind only Calgary Edmonton and Ottawa. There are lots of good jobs in the city. That is why people are coming here.

  63. “When housing cost rises 300% but income only rises 10%, that creates dangerously out of balance ratios.”

    Yes it is bad. The market is seriously out of whack, there is a housing bubble. People are doing everything they can to make the best of a bad situation. Which brings us to the situation at hand, should people be allowed to rent rooms in their houses. At present the law says no. That law seems irresponsible given the current economic situation and the “dangerously out of balance” housing market. In this situation it is logical, rational and morally correct to allow people to rent out rooms in their houses.

    I ask you to please respond with an explanation of what you envision the housing situation to look like if a rooming house ban is enforced.

  64. “Do you mean oil and natural gas, which USA realized they can more affordably extract via North Dakota?”

    the USA consumes about 16 million barrels of oil per day, they produce only about 8 million. they are still dependent upon imports. the entire shale revolution will only add at best a few million barrels of new production. I think it is interesting to point out that most of the increased production of oil in Saskatchewan is in the south east corner of the province. The Bakken formation which is the same formation that is being produced in North Dakota.

    China is increasing it oil consumption and are bidding up the price of oil on international markets, Saskatchewan producers benefit from the increased benchmark prices even if we are not able to directly sell oil to China. The oil industry in Saskatchewan will continue to do quite well for at least the next decade. At which point disruptive technologies and declining reserves make forecasting completely useless.

    “Or do you mean uranium, that civilizations are avoiding after watching the industry leader Japan prove it’s nearly impossible to guarantee is safe?”

    Korea, China, India, Russia and many other countries continue to build nuclear reactors, and as the stockpile of enriched uranium produced by the START treaties is consumed the demand for freshly mined uranium will remain. The nuclear industry is not going anywhere. it remains resilient despite Fukushima.

    Or do you mean potash, which is in multi-year decline, and just took a severe body blow? Potash, the industry that pays optional royalties based on the ever delayed promise of short-term jobs, but which delays and downsizes projects every year?

    Potash prices are on a multi year decline from what was a 300% price spike, a return to normal pricing is to be expected. Potash production has been rising, abet with a great deal of short term volatility, for many decades. The fundamentals of the potash industry remain strong.

    “Make no mistake, I’m happy to have these resources. But unlike past and present governments, I understand these are all non-renewable, and that once cashed out, can never help us ever again”.

    They are non renewable, you are correct. However, our largest export to Asia is non of the non-renewable resources you mentioned but in fact agricultural products, canola, wheat and peas. Agriculture remains Saskatchewan’s second largest industry, and it continues to grow.

    I also know they are subject to global forces that treat our million population like it’s a cork in the ocean.

    Saskatchewan has a surprisingly diversified economy, especially when compared to Alberta, which is a one horse, tar sands pony. Our diversified economy provides resiliency in the face of global uncertainty.

    I do not mean to say that everything will be good, there will undoubtedly be many problems in many areas but those problems will be unlikely to derail the entire economy and without such a derailment people will continue to come her and the housing market will remain tight.

  65. Sask Finance rep: “I have seen no evidence to suggest that renting rooms is responsible for the housing bubble but in fact the opposite, the housing bubble has made it necessary to have renters.”

    You can’t honestly separate these and say it’s only one way, at least not with any credibility.

  66. Sask Finance rep: “There are lots of good jobs in the city.”

    Yes there are jobs. Ones that are minimum wage, with little to no benefits, fragmented hours, poor conditions, no security, and no advancement opportunity. And as long as you don’t mind putting 100% of your income into rent, it’s great! Who needs budget for food, savings, transportation, leisure, or education right?

    Sask Finance rep: “People that work at Walmart and McDonalds still need a place to live. What are you suggesting?”

    I’m suggesting that those jobs are low quality and low paying, and even with full time hours, nobody working such a job can come anywhere close to achieving a proper budget balance of one-third income devoted to housing.

    $10/hr x 40 hrs x 4 weeks x 1/3 = $532 per month

    So the inevitable is wages must double or triple, or else housing costs crash.

    We could see some combination, but since I have very little faith that wages will rise much if at all, so that means almost all of the correction will be to housing costs.

    Finance department reps around the world were just like you and said they were special and they would be immune from reality. You seem to be using the Detroit/Florida/Arizona/California playboook in saying that we are some unique and special place, with unique and special features, and therefore reality doesn’t apply to us.

    Maybe you have an example of city that was immune even as its housing costs were approaching 100% of income?

  67. Sask Finance rep: “if a 25 year old working at Walmart lives in a house with his friends parents then he is a criminal.”

    Do you actually believe that? What crime would you have this 25 year old charge with?

    Or do you know better and you’re just spreading false info because the facts are not on your side?

  68. Reader,

    You entertain me. Your last comment is showing you still don’t get this bylaw. If a 25 year old is living with his friends parents, ie living in a rooming house as defined by the current bylaw then there would be an illegal land use taking place.

    The ability to rent rooms in a house that you own is one solution to help ease the housing crisis and protect against the housing bubble.

  69. Adam, what crime would charge the 25 year old renter with?

    I think it is very telling that a government official would say the primary victim of the housing crisis is the criminal.

    Renting rooms is one “measure” to help the housing crisis, but certainly not the solution. Nor would it “protect against” the housing bubble, it actually extends and pumps the bubble.

    Your real estate agent’s promotion of using rental income to sell you a place you couldn’t otherwise afford is a perfect example of how.

  70. First off I would like to state that I am not here as a representative of finance, I just happen to work there.

    “Yes there are jobs. Ones that are minimum wage, with little to no benefits, fragmented hours, poor conditions, no security, and no advancement opportunity. And as long as you don’t mind putting 100% of your income into rent, it’s great! Who needs budget for food, savings, transportation, leisure, or education right?”

    Not all of the jobs in Regina are minimum wage, I don’t make minimum wage. as I have pointed out earlier we have the 4th highest per capita income in the country. if you don’t believe me I suggest you check “The Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook”

    That said there are people who make minimum wage in Regina, I would like to know where you expect them to live if we ban them from renting rooms? Are they supposed to go into other occupied apartments (the vacancy rate is still below 1%), are they supposed to buy into the housing bubble? are they supposed to leave the city?

    The residential prices are the result of low supply and high demand, waving a magic wand and lowering prices will not create more homes it will simply push people out into the street. High prices are the markets way of encouraging more construction and to encourage people to find creative ways to find more housing in the existing housing stock. That is how markets work.

    Reader, you seem to be operating under the false assumption that individuals buy houses, that is not the reality of the world we live in groups of people buy houses, and they are often helped out by their parents. The single rich guy who buys a house by himself is a myth he does not exist in the 21st century.

    The price of housing is not astronomically high if the cost is shared amongst multiple people, which is what a rooming house allows people to do.

    “Sask Finance rep: “if a 25 year old working at Walmart lives in a house with his friends parents then he is a criminal.”

    Do you actually believe that? What crime would you have this 25 year old charge with?

    Or do you know better and you’re just spreading false info because the facts are not on your side?”

    This is the crux of the debate: should rooming houses be banned? If they are banned then we must have a mechanism for stopping them, presently that is a fine and jail time. So yes I believe that, if for example, I lived in Adam’s house then we would be in violation of the law we would face a fine. If we continued to live there the penalty would escalate and eventually Adam would be thrown in prison, the big rooming house. I believe this is wrong, that people should not be persecuted based on the relationship status of the people they live with.

    I believe people should be allowed to live with whomever they want, regardless of a blood relation.

    Reader, you never answered my question “What do you envision the housing situation to look like if a rooming house ban is enforced?”

  71. Readers comment:
    “Adam, what crime would charge the 25 year old renter with?

    I think it is very telling that a government official would say the primary victim of the housing crisis is the criminal.

    Renting rooms is one “measure” to help the housing crisis, but certainly not the solution. Nor would it “protect against” the housing bubble, it actually extends and pumps the bubble.

    Your real estate agent’s promotion of using rental income to sell you a place you couldn’t otherwise afford is a perfect example of how.”

    I never said the 25 year old renter was a criminal. I had said, trying to clarify, that if a 25 year old is renting with someone not related by blood, marriage or adoption that there would be an illegal land use. And that is a problem with our current set of laws. The renter would be an accomplice no? lol.

    The Solution is very simple for the housing crisis. Make more housing units available. Currently construction is setting record pace trying to meet the demand but is simply just not keeping up with demand. Renting Rooms is one measure to help solve the housing crisis but it doesn’t extend or pump the bubble.

    My Real Estate Agent, who is my father with my best interest in mind in this case, can’t promote selling a place that I can’t afford. You want to know why? Because when you apply for the mortgage at the bank you cannot use the rental income in order to qualify for the mortgage. Are you comprehending this?

    When you sit down with the bank’s lending agent and ask, “If we use some rent income from the house can we qualify for a bigger house” The response is simply, “You cannot use rental income to qualify for a mortgage on your primary residence.” Are you understanding what I am saying here? I have to qualify to buy the house in the same manner as an owner occupied homeowner who doesn’t end up renting rooms. Being able to rent rooms makes it far less likely for me to default on the Mortgage which is what set off the housing bubble in the USA. That is how it can’t extend the housing bubble because you can’t use that rental income to buy bigger and it makes people less likely to default at the same time.

    Readers commented on this:
    “Adam Knutson: “Most people do not have legal suites being rented. I think that puts lots of unnecessary costs on a home also just to fit that definition.”

    Actually not true. The vast majority of suites in Regina are legal. There’s some rogue operators doing the illegal suite thing like you are, but there are legitimate businesses that each operate hundreds if not thousands of units each.”

    I am saying that most of them aren’t actually legal. Lets check the bylaw and building code regulations and see what we find.

    Zoning Bylaw Chapter 6.
    6.4 MAXIMUM NUMBER OF BEDROOMS
    A secondary suite shall not contain more than two bedrooms.

    So if someone is renting a basement as a secondary suite that has 3 bedrooms its not a legal suite. If someone lives in the basement and rents the upstairs as a secondary suite and that has 3 bedrooms its not a legal suite. How many places does that eliminate?

    Door Viewer…
    10. Door Viewer: Section 9.6.8.8 – main entrance door to dwelling units shall be provided with a door
    viewer, transparent glazing or a side light.

    How many of those “legal suites” have a door viewer?

    Sound-proofing
    Every dwelling unit shall be separated from every other space in a building, having a sound transmission
    rating of at least 50 decibels. (Section 9.11.2.1.(1))

    How many “Legal Suites” in Regina would pass that sound proofing?

    Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms:
    Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms shall be installed in each dwelling unit and shall be wired
    such that if one alarm sounds, all alarms in the building will activate. (Section 9.10.18.(1) and Section
    9.32.3.9)

    How many “legal suites” in Regina are setup such that if the smoke detector goes off in the basement the smoke detector upstairs goes off? How many “legal suites” would have the upstairs smoke detector go off and set the basement smoke detector off?

    Air Duct System
    In a residential occupancy, air from one dwelling unit shall not be circulated to any other dwelling unit
    nor to a public corridor. (Section 6.2.3.9)

    How many “legal suites” in regina have seperate furnaces, seperate air conditioners and seperate air intakes and exhausts? Not very many I’d bet.

    Furnaces
    Two heat sources – one for each unit – are required – Section 9.33.1.1.(1), or other approved systems of
    heat.
    Note: If furnace room is existing as constructed in basement, furnace room is considered part of main
    floor area.

    How many “legal suites” have seperate furnaces? Not many I bet.

    ADDRESSING
    1. The secondary suite will be assigned an address that is separate from that of the principal dwelling.
    The secondary suite address will be identified by adding an “A” after the address number of the
    principal dwelling.
    Example: Address of principal dwelling: 123 Regina Street
    Address of secondary suite: 123A Regina Street
    2. The address number for the secondary suite must be added to the exterior front wall of the house to
    assist emergency vehicles in locating the suite. The address number for the suite must be placed
    within 1 metre of the front entrance to the principal dwelling and must be plainly visible from the
    street that abuts the front entrance to the principal dwelling.
    3. Canada Post requires that a separate mailbox be provided on the front of the house for the secondary
    suite.

    How many have a second mailbox? or have the letter A on the address number? Hell, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an A beside anyones house number in this city. (Ironic that it has to be out front yet the secondary suite entrance isn’t allowed to be out front…)

    These can be referenced here:
    http://www.regina.ca/opencms/export/sites/regina.ca/residents/building-demolition/.media/pdf/secondary-suite.pdf

    ————————-

    As you can easily see I doubt very many “legal suites” in regina are actually legal suites.

    ————————-

    PS. 6.6 is just stupid. Like seriously, are renters third class citizens that aren’t allowed to use the front door?
    6.6 LOCATION OF SEPARATE ENTRANCE
    Where a secondary suite has an exterior entrance which is separate from that of
    the principal dwelling:
    (a) the entrance to the secondary suite shall be located on a side or rear
    wall of the principal dwelling; and
    (b) in the case of a corner lot, the secondary suite entrance shall not be
    located on the side wall that is adjacent to the street if there is an
    entrance to the principal dwelling on that wall. [2003-1]
    —–

    When I had said that the Canadian Government was favourable to the housing situation I was specifically referring to this sheet that is provided to help fill out your taxes. I’ll live it as an exercise to the reader to see how it is favourable to the situation of renting. You cited somebody getting $1000/month for rent and having to pay $300 tax on that, it made me wonder about your math skills.

    Tax form for rentals.
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t776/t776-12e.pdf

    The Canadian Government is aware of the housing bubble and are trying all kinds of things to avoid a crash. There is definitely a serious risk that under the right conditions house prices could drop significantly. Rooming houses can actually soften the impact of such swings though. If thousands of renters ended up leaving this city they would be leaving the rooming houses first and those houses are owned by people who had to qualify for the mortgage on their own strength. Henceforth they might not have the same cashflow but wouldn’t end up defaulting on their properties. This is how they are actually a cushion against the bubble.

    ——————————-

    You had asked me to make a list of possible problems assuming clean, safe, fair, honest, and pleasant.

    I came up with Garbage, Traffic, Parking and provided reasons why I think it would be okay to allow Rooming houses despite the increases in those issues. Perhaps you would like to expand on this list?

    Readers comment:
    “You already said you didn’t want to spend any money on renovations. Making a suite is easy, you just have a spend a few bucks on a safe and separate entrance, bathroom, and kitchen. You’ve repeatedly said you don’t want to spend the relatively small cost it would require to go legit. You constantly dismiss these upgrades as useless, but you would be shocked to learn there are valid safety reasons for all of them.”

    How do know what I’ve spent or not spent on renovations? Making a suite is not easy and I think my post above so far should show how its not cheap or easy. Especially if the house isn’t designed to have a seperate entrance. Why should I have to put in a second entrance, kitchen, furnance and seperate air ducts, intakes and exhausts? And for what purpose? Just so that in 5 to 10 years I can do another major renovation in order to make it back to the way I want it now which will be how I want it when my family comes along?

    I have no problems sharing my house with my friends for these few years. There is no safety problem using the same entrance, I have no problem sharing my kitchen, we have no need for a second furnace or major air duct changes. And you trying to tell me that all that is for somebody’s safety is bogus. I’m living in the same arrangement now as I have for the past 6 years and that is people living together in a house. Why should that suddenly be illegal just because I know am an owner as opposed to just one of the Renters?

    I am calling on the government to legalize some freedom!

  72. “First off I would like to state that I am not here as a representative of finance, I just happen to work there.”

    You used your position to imply your response was credible and authoritative. That makes it fair game, especially when significant portions of it are subjective, political, and well, wrong.

    My credentials probably exceed yours, but I keep them to myself because I’d rather let my argument do the talking.

  73. “Not all of the jobs in Regina are minimum wage”

    When relying on mass statistics to promote an agenda, you have to accept facts of what make up those stats.

    “where you expect them to live if we ban them from renting rooms”

    Again, more falsehood. We aren’t banning renters, we are asking landlords to maintain minimum standards. BIG difference. You did the same when trying to float the lie that the 25 year old renter was a criminal.

    “lowering prices will not create more homes it will simply push people out into the street”
    How would more affordable home prices push people out into the street? A hint: it wouldn’t.

    Your tale of houses being bought mostly by groups and cartels is a false anecdote, disproven in mortgage data.

  74. “So yes I believe that, if for example, I lived in Adam’s house then we would be in violation of the law we would face a fine.”

    You seriously still selling the fiction that the renter is the criminal? It’s the illegal landlord that’s subject to bylaw enforcement.

    If your point requires making a lot of false statements and spreading false fears that renters are being criminalized, maybe should rethink your position.

  75. “the price of housing is not astronomically high if the cost is shared amongst multiple people”

    Hence my point. Healthy sustainable economies are founded on the average family being able to afford the average lifestyle. That ratio isn’t just stretched here, it’s been shattered, and we’re experiencing the inevitable negative side effects.

    You think a hard working person holding down two or more grueling minimum wage jobs actually wants to live in Adam’s cramped bedroom and share his toilet? Hardly. They’re forced to this desperate circumstance by the housing price crisis, which itself is a symptom of the economic distortion.

    You could not or should not have a job in any financial capacity if you don’t understand that a scenario where one requires >100% of their income for housing is unsustainable.

    And yet you seek to prolong and worsen that situation by pumping up the housing price bubble some more. Why stop with illegal suites rental income? People could have livestock in their back yards and do oil changes in the front yard. Meth production, dog fighting, and dice games all could bring in more income to keep propping up higher prices.

  76. “I believe people should be allowed to live with whomever they want, regardless of a blood relation.”

    They can, in legal dwellings. But again you spread false fear that this is somehow about society trying to restrict freedom.

    All we ask is that the rental businesses follow some minimal regulations, regulations which are rooted in public safety, and regulations which were created from past experience where we know that there are some people who care only about money and will gladly risk the lives of innocent people in pursuit of their next nickel.

    The better question is what is your objection to minimal safe standards (other than the obvious fact it would make a dent in Adam’s profits)?

  77. Adam: You ask how many rental suites obey all those regulations. The answer is: THOUSANDS. Pick any one of the big name property companies, and visit their sites. No matter what you might think of them, you’ll find they cover all those bases.

    They actually aren’t hard to comply with, for legal and legitimate rental businesses at least.

    For someone looking to rake in easy side cash, but isn’t willing to make even the smallest investment, they might look daunting.

    You admitted as much, that you didn’t want to pay a bit more for a house that could have a rental suite, that you didn’t want to put up the separate door or washroom. So your cheapness is the issue, not oppressive regulation.

    Every regulation listed has a good reason. House numbers assist emergency responders. A peephole ($2) lets the tenant see who is requesting entry. Separate air limits contaminants. Thicker walls slow fire. Smoke alarms save lives.

    You speak of irony, but the true irony is how you see a safety measure and try to villainize it, but you have been squeezed into a financial trap by ruthless housing bubble pumpers, and you think they’re the heroes.

  78. “I have no problems sharing my house with my friends for these few years”

    …. for money.

    ” Why should I have to put in a second entrance, kitchen, furnance and seperate air ducts, intakes and exhausts?”

    For the safety of your customers aka friends. This is the same reason all grown-up businesses have to obey similar regulations.

    Gas fitter needs a certified ticket and standardized methods, chef needs to be health and cleanliness certified, electrician needs to be qualified and audited. So guess what – a rental business should also have to meet some minimum safety standards.

    By your logic, you should be able to go out and make money doing unqualified gas, electric, and catering work, so long as you call everyone that pays you your “friend”.

  79. ““lowering prices will not create more homes it will simply push people out into the street”

    How would more affordable home prices push people out into the street? A hint: it wouldn’t.”

    Economics 100: if the price goes down the quantity supplied will decrease, because the quantity supplied is currently used to maximum capacity the decline in price result in a shortage of housing.

    “Your tale of houses being bought mostly by groups and cartels is a false anecdote, disproven in mortgage data.”

    Show me this data.

    Show me the single people who buy houses with out the assistance of their parents and with out having renters. I have never met one. Everybody either gets some money from their parents, or they rent rooms, or they share the cost with their partner.

  80. “Hence my point. Healthy sustainable economies are founded on the average family being able to afford the average lifestyle. That ratio isn’t just stretched here, it’s been shattered, and we’re experiencing the inevitable negative side effects.”

    What is the average life style? I believe that by definition the average person is living the average lifestyle. i think that the source of our disagreement is your perception of what the average lifestyle should be and not what it actually is.

    The Mode (most common) person in Saskatchewan is their 20’s lives at home with their parents. Has completed a post secondary education, is not married, does not have kids. This is the average life, it is affordable to the average 20 something.

    I get the impression that you believe the Mode situation should be a nuclear family with young children living in a single detached house by themselves. I am sorry to tell you, but this is not the reality of the world we live in and it never has been.

  81. Readers comment:
    “You used your position to imply your response was credible and authoritative. That makes it fair game, especially when significant portions of it are subjective, political, and well, wrong.

    My credentials probably exceed yours, but I keep them to myself because I’d rather let my argument do the talking.”

    So far your arguments have been full of false claims and other wild claims. You have also shown you don’t understand multiple points we have been talking about and have actually had to pull up the laws to show what we were talking about and what you didn’t understand. C’mon, out with your credentials because as it stands you have none. You’ve spewed so many falsehoods you can’t have any credibility. Your argument has only been wild false claims.

    Readers comment:
    ““where you expect them to live if we ban them from renting rooms”

    Again, more falsehood. We aren’t banning renters, we are asking landlords to maintain minimum standards. BIG difference. You did the same when trying to float the lie that the 25 year old renter was a criminal.”

    Reader, why don’t you answer his question? Also the minimum standards that are being met by my single detached dwelling are the same standards met by my neighbor who is just an owner who doesn’t rent.

    Readers comment:
    ““lowering prices will not create more homes it will simply push people out into the street”
    How would more affordable home prices push people out into the street? A hint: it wouldn’t.

    Your tale of houses being bought mostly by groups and cartels is a false anecdote, disproven in mortgage data.””

    You aren’t considering supply. I’ll bet you haven’t even looked at mortgage data either.

    Readers comment:
    ““So yes I believe that, if for example, I lived in Adam’s house then we would be in violation of the law we would face a fine.”

    You seriously still selling the fiction that the renter is the criminal? It’s the illegal landlord that’s subject to bylaw enforcement.

    If your point requires making a lot of false statements and spreading false fears that renters are being criminalized, maybe should rethink your position.”

    You need to learn to comprehend what you read. Read it again carefully. Note the word “we”.

    Readers comment:
    ““the price of housing is not astronomically high if the cost is shared amongst multiple people”

    Hence my point. Healthy sustainable economies are founded on the average family being able to afford the average lifestyle. That ratio isn’t just stretched here, it’s been shattered, and we’re experiencing the inevitable negative side effects.

    You think a hard working person holding down two or more grueling minimum wage jobs actually wants to live in Adam’s cramped bedroom and share his toilet? Hardly. They’re forced to this desperate circumstance by the housing price crisis, which itself is a symptom of the economic distortion.

    You could not or should not have a job in any financial capacity if you don’t understand that a scenario where one requires >100% of their income for housing is unsustainable.

    And yet you seek to prolong and worsen that situation by pumping up the housing price bubble some more. Why stop with illegal suites rental income? People could have livestock in their back yards and do oil changes in the front yard. Meth production, dog fighting, and dice games all could bring in more income to keep propping up higher prices.””

    Excuse me, I don’t rent cramped bedrooms. Why are you spreading that libel against me? My rooms are very nice in fact. Did you also fail to read that they don’t have to share my toilet? I have a private ensuite in my room and thus they don’t have to share my toilet. This is another one of your falsehoods you are spreading. No one living in my place is forced into this “desperate circumstance” by the hosuing crisis. They are all free people who are quite happy to be in my place. This is another falsehood and more libel you are spreading about me.

    Your statement about him not having a financial job is also libel against him. He is more then highly qualified for his job.

    Your last couple sentences are all just wild claims delving into more fantasy. Those claims are specifically why you have no credibility left in this discussion.

    Readers comment:
    ““I believe people should be allowed to live with whomever they want, regardless of a blood relation.”

    They can, in legal dwellings. But again you spread false fear that this is somehow about society trying to restrict freedom.”

    Right, this is more of your flavor of freedom. “You are free to do as you are told”. My home is a legal dwelling as is. If the people with me were family members it would be safe and legal, if they aren’t its “illegal”. How is that logical at all?

    Readers comment:
    “All we ask is that the rental businesses follow some minimal regulations, regulations which are rooted in public safety, and regulations which were created from past experience where we know that there are some people who care only about money and will gladly risk the lives of innocent people in pursuit of their next nickel.

    The better question is what is your objection to minimal safe standards (other than the obvious fact it would make a dent in Adam’s profits)?”

    First off, I’ve shown how this isn’t a business and yet you constantly go back to that. Also in the event I had just family in my house it would be considered legal, but because the bedrooms aren’t occupied by my kids somehow that is “illegal” and “unsafe”. What minimum standards do you think aren’t being met?

    Readers comment:
    “Adam: You ask how many rental suites obey all those regulations. The answer is: THOUSANDS. Pick any one of the big name property companies, and visit their sites. No matter what you might think of them, you’ll find they cover all those bases.

    They actually aren’t hard to comply with, for legal and legitimate rental businesses at least.

    For someone looking to rake in easy side cash, but isn’t willing to make even the smallest investment, they might look daunting.

    You admitted as much, that you didn’t want to pay a bit more for a house that could have a rental suite, that you didn’t want to put up the separate door or washroom. So your cheapness is the issue, not oppressive regulation.”

    Those are regulations for “Secondary suites” which is specifically located in houses. Its not thousands. You are refering to big name companies that operate apartments not thousands of houses.

    If I was going to get a house designed to have a rental suite I actually would have had to spend less to get one that was designed for it. You aren’t understanding this discussion at all yet.

    Readers comment:
    “Every regulation listed has a good reason. House numbers assist emergency responders. A peephole ($2) lets the tenant see who is requesting entry. Separate air limits contaminants. Thicker walls slow fire. Smoke alarms save lives.

    You speak of irony, but the true irony is how you see a safety measure and try to villainize it, but you have been squeezed into a financial trap by ruthless housing bubble pumpers, and you think they’re the heroes.”

    I am just pointing out that the “THOUSANDS” of legal suites located in houses actually don’t meet the minimum standards you are talking about. There are extremely few houses with completely separate air systems. And the smoke detector requirement wasn’t that they simply have them but that when one floor is set off it also sets off the other floor. There are very few homes that actually do that if any at all in this city.

    Readers comments:
    ““I have no problems sharing my house with my friends for these few years”

    …. for money.”

    You just want everything for free don’t you.

    Readers comment:
    “”Why should I have to put in a second entrance, kitchen, furnance and seperate air ducts, intakes and exhausts?”

    For the safety of your customers aka friends. This is the same reason all grown-up businesses have to obey similar regulations.”

    You don’t understand this problem. If I live in this house with just my brothers its legal. Rent to a few friends, illegal. Is the safety of my brothers somehow less valued then the safety of my friends? When I have kids and they occupy the rooms is there safety somehow worth less then my friends in the rooms now? Your claims about safety are thus malarkey as any diligent reader can see here.

    And then back to “Grown-up businesses” talk. Get it through your thick skull that this is not a business. I have shown you how the City of Regina Administration has said this does not qualify as a home based business. Did you even read that link I dug up just for you?

    Readers comment:
    “Gas fitter needs a certified ticket and standardized methods, chef needs to be health and cleanliness certified, electrician needs to be qualified and audited. So guess what – a rental business should also have to meet some minimum safety standards.

    By your logic, you should be able to go out and make money doing unqualified gas, electric, and catering work, so long as you call everyone that pays you your “friend”.”

    More “rental business” talk. You still don’t comprehend what has been said to you. Also, you don’t understand my logic and you have shown you don’t understand the law or economics.

    Can you even make a post that doesn’t include wild claims or falsehoods?

  82. “Adam: You ask how many rental suites obey all those regulations. The answer is: THOUSANDS. Pick any one of the big name property companies, and visit their sites. No matter what you might think of them, you’ll find they cover all those bases.”

    Big property companies are by definition not rooming houses. A better question is how many of the single detached houses in the city meet all those requirements.

    “Every regulation listed has a good reason. House numbers assist emergency responders. A peephole ($2) lets the tenant see who is requesting entry. Separate air limits contaminants. Thicker walls slow fire. Smoke alarms save lives.”

    Does every room in your house have its own address, its own peephole, separate furnace and ventilation system, thicker walls to slow fires? if not why, if it is necessary for a rented room why is it not standard practice for every room in every house?

    Why do we allow children to live in rooms without peep holes and separate ventilation systems, and thicker walls to slow fire but not a willing consenting adult. Why are land lords being forced to provide all these “safety features” but parent are not.

    I believe both parents and land lords should be treated equally.

    Please do not confuse a “room in a house” rooming house for a separate independent suite, when drafting your response.

  83. “They can, in legal dwellings. But again you spread false fear that this is somehow about society trying to restrict freedom.”

    I suggest you read the bylaws that Adam has already posted. At present rooming houses are only permitted in the downtown and transition area. They are illegal in all other parts of the city (as you have stated many times). The proposed changes are that if somebody in the downtown or transition area gets a business permit they can rent a maximum of 2 rooms in their house. In all other parts of the city business licences will not be issued making rooming houses illegal in all other parts of the city. Thus under no circumstance will I be allowed to live with a person whom i am not related to. Barring renovating my house such that it has a secondary suite and entrance, and furnace, kitchen, bathroom, living room, sound proofing, mail box and mailing address.

    How do I cram all that into a single extra bedroom?

  84. “The better question is what is your objection to minimal safe standards (other than the obvious fact it would make a dent in Adam’s profits)?”

    I am not against minimum safety standards. I am for the same safety standards being applied universally. I do not believe a house should be subject to more stringent safety standards just because the person living in the room next to mine is not a blood relative.

  85. To recap: You admit to willfully violating bylaws and running an illegitimate rental operation that you won’t call a business. You refuse to make even small renovations that would benefit your renters. You deny that renters share your toilet, but don’t tell us where they go to the bathroom. We’re left to wonder if you make them bag it or if they just use the yard.

    You claim that since your customers are your “friends”, you should be exempt from laws, regulation, and taxation.

    You say “If I was going to get a house designed to have a rental suite I actually would have had to spend less to get one that was designed for it.” If true, then your real estate agent really fumbled the ball, or you did, by paying more to get a house that wasn’t feasible as a rental business.

    Your “friend” appears and starts dishing out financial wisdom, but doesn’t appear to know very much about finance. The friend states that the most common person in Saskatchewan is a 20-something who has completed higher education but lives with their parents; and even worse, that adults living with their parents should be considered the new normal lifestyle.

    The government official/friend also makes the implausible claim that every home purchaser is running a side rental business and/or receiving financial assistance from their aging parents, and that too should be considered the normal lifestyle.

    Both you and the friend claim the person renting your suite is the criminal, but neither will say what crime you would have them charged with.

    Then you call me a thick skull and allege libel where none exists. If you are representative of local landlords, and your friend is representative of the government’s knowledge level and oversight, then I think you’ve shed a lot of light on why our housing situation is a disaster.

  86. We can recap alright. How about I keep track of how many false statments you made in that one post.

    Reader’s comment:
    “You admit to willfully violating bylaws and running an illegitimate rental operation that you won’t call a business.”

    I was not willfully violating bylaws. Practically no one knows it existed.

    Reader’s comment:
    “You refuse to make even small renovations that would benefit your renters.”

    False claim #1: I have done things that benefit my renters. They have cost thousands of dollars even.

    Reader’s comment:
    “You deny that renters share your toilet, but don’t tell us where they go to the bathroom. We’re left to wonder if you make them bag it or if they just use the yard.”

    False claim(or perhaps ‘wonder’ on your part) #2: They don’t share my toilet. I’ve said numerous times in this discussion that I have my own private ensuite. Your unwillingness to accept this basic simple fact shows how you are thick skulled. Then you go off into wonderland and can’t seem to imagine a house with more then just one bathroom that is an ensuite at that. You wander around in wonderland and somehow contemplate renters having to bag it or use the yard. And of course have zero evidence to support your outragous and wild claim.

    Reader’s comment:
    “You claim that since your customers are your “friends”, you should be exempt from laws, regulation, and taxation.”

    False claim #3: They are my friends. I never said I should be exempt from laws, regulations or taxation. I haven’t broken any laws(bylaws aren’t laws) and think that the regulations on my house should be the same as the regulation on my neighbors house who is a homeowner that lives alone. I posted the rental tax form for you to review but based on your conclusion of how many bathrooms this house has you probably can’t figure out how taxation on rentals like mine are rather favourable so I’ll let you ponder that in wonderland also.

    Reader’s comment:
    “You say “If I was going to get a house designed to have a rental suite I actually would have had to spend less to get one that was designed for it.” If true, then your real estate agent really fumbled the ball, or you did, by paying more to get a house that wasn’t feasible as a rental business.”

    False claim #4:
    My real estate agent did just fine as I’m satisfied with this house. Then you go back to calling it a rental business again which should count as false claim #5.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Your “friend” appears and starts dishing out financial wisdom, but doesn’t appear to know very much about finance. The friend states that the most common person in Saskatchewan is a 20-something who has completed higher education but lives with their parents; and even worse, that adults living with their parents should be considered the new normal lifestyle.”

    Hey, if you don’t want to learn from his financial wisdom then that is your problem not mine. You then claim he doesn’t appear to know very much about finance. I’m putting that down as false claim #6. He has exceptional crediatials on financial matters with applicable degrees from the university. Also he is very well versed in financial matters and a solid grasp of logic and reality. When he talks about the most common person in the province its not something that he pulled out of wonderland like you seem to do but probably straight out of Statitics Canada, but hey, what would that department know either right? Would be a terrible thing to let facts or data get in the way of a good discussion right. Oh, did you dig up that mortgage data he was asking for when he quoted this:”“Your tale of houses being bought mostly by groups and cartels is a false anecdote, disproven in mortgage data.”

    Show me this data.”

    Readers comment:
    “The government official/friend also makes the implausible claim that every home purchaser is running a side rental business and/or receiving financial assistance from their aging parents, and that too should be considered the normal lifestyle.”

    Well you’ve twisted his words marvelously here now haven’t you. He said this exactly:
    “Show me the single people who buy houses with out the assistance of their parents and with out having renters. I have never met one. Everybody either gets some money from their parents, or they rent rooms, or they share the cost with their partner.”

    You have failed to meet his request of showing us one single(unmarried) person who buys a house without assistance of their parents and does not rent rooms. I’m thinking of all the people I know that have bought houses in the last 5 years and not one of them fits the description of single, no money from parents required and does not rent rooms. One the other hand I know lots of friends who are single and can’t or won’t buy a house unless they get help from their parent or end up married or end up renting rooms. Basically if you are a single person you won’t be buying a house unless you either get help from your parents or buy it with a girlfriend/wife or rent rooms. Maybe their is some statistical anomally out there where a single person is able to buy a house all on their own and not need to rent rooms but if that is so I would wager that its less then 10% of the homebuyers out there. When you state that he made an “Implausible claim” that counts as false claim #7.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Both you and the friend claim the person renting your suite is the criminal, but neither will say what crime you would have them charged with.”

    This is false claim #9. I never said the person renting was the criminal. This false claim probably happened because you failed to understand what we were saying. I never said that the renter was a criminal but noted they would be a party to an illegal land use. Without the tenant you can’t be called a rooming house. This is the least worrisome of your false claims though. We can easily write it up as a misunderstanding and I’m sure when Steven wrote that up it was a slight error.

    Reader’s comment:
    “Then you call me a thick skull and allege libel where none exists. If you are representative of local landlords, and your friend is representative of the government’s knowledge level and oversight, then I think you’ve shed a lot of light on why our housing situation is a disaster.”

    Thick skull refers to someone who is repeated told information and fails to acknowledge it. This is what you have done. I doubt you even know what libel means.

    He and I have very little to do with the overall housing situation. We are but small players in this game. But we have come to the end of my post and congratulations, you have kept your last post to just under 10 false claims…

  87. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/dp-pd/prof/index.cfm?Lang=E

    Type Regina into the place box. there is lots of information. To sum it up, millenials now outnumber baby boomers, about half the population has a post secondary degree, of those people most of them still live at home. It is not a statement of what I want the world to look like, it is a statement of what the world actually looks like. Normal is not what exists in your imagination, normal is what exists in reality.

    “To recap: You admit to willfully violating bylaws and running an illegitimate rental operation that you won’t call a business.”

    Again the purpose of the meeting is to determine what the law should be, the question and purpose of the meeting is, should this be illegal?

    If the bylaw is rescinded your legality argument will disappear, what further arguments do you have?

Comments are closed.