The Guelph rentals market may have new opportunity. 2019 saw the highest average sales price ever for homes in Guelph’s real estate market: an increase of nearly 5% versus 2018. This, contributing to an overall dollar volume (adding all sales together) hike of just over 12% in 2019.

With rising housing prices in Guelph, more people are either forced to rent. Or, they have made the decision to rent in the Royal City. Renting is not a bad option – many believe the benefits of homeownership are over rated. High costs associated with maintaining a home can be a deal breaker.

Renting also provides a more flexible lifestyle for those who travel. If you are looking for the ideal neighbourhood before purchasing, renting buys you time.

However, limited options and rental prices are creating challenges for those who want to rent.

A recent report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives are alarming. It reveals that a person would need to earn at least $21 per hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Guelph. Meeting this requirement can be difficult for many, including small and single-parent families.

Even students are feeling the pinch. We did a quick search of rental units on thecannon.ca, a site co-owned by the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-operative. As a result, it showed room rates ranging anywhere from $550-$750 for a single room.

This can cause further stress on students. They need to work to afford their housing while studying, or on many parents who are paying the bills.

According to the Guelph CMHC rental market report, Guelph’s vacancy rate of 1.4% is almost half of the national average of 2.4%. The draw of the university, a strong local job market and proximity to Toronto are all factors. And, it’s is putting pressure on both Guelph homebuyers and renters alike.

So, what do we do to encourage Guelph rentals?

To address a lean rental market, homeowners can consider creating an accessory apartment if they have extra space. This could provide both additional income and increasing the rental housing stock in Guelph.

Accessory apartments are permitted in most single-detached and semi-detached homes. Generally, if zoned as residential single detached (R1), and residential semi-detached /duplex it would be an option.

To be considered legal, an accessory apartment must be inspected and registered by the city as a two-unit house. It must also meet requirements of the City of Guelph Zoning By-Law. And, either the Ontario Building Code or the Ontario Fire Code, as per City of Guelph Building Services.

A note for renters:

If you are considering Guelph rentals, it’s your right to live in a safe space. Some questions you should consider asking your landlord include:

  • Are there working smoke alarms on every level and outside every sleeping area? Note: Houses built after 2013 must also have a smoke alarm on every level
  • Do you have working carbon monoxide alarms installed (if applicable)?
  • Is there a plan to have two safe ways to get out of the unit in case of a fire?
  • If you or your housemate(s) sleep in the basement: Is there a big enough window or door leading directly outside so you can get out in case of a fire?
  • Does your building has more than four bedrooms and sharing one kitchen?  is it certified with the City?
  • Two separate kitchens: is it registered with the City?

The Guelph housing market can thrive. If there is both a healthy stock of owned and Guelph rentals, everyone wins. Accessory apartments are a creative solution for existing homeowners. They can support the rental market while earning additional income.

If you’re considering transitioning from renting to buying, contact Beth and Ryan. They’ll be able to discuss all your options with you!

Source: GDAR City of Guelph, Residential home data 2015-19.