Housing crisis | Radical solutions before it’s too late

The housing crisis is everywhere. Contrary to popular belief, the current phenomenon is not new and is not temporary. Certain underlying conditions and certain ideals today lead to an exacerbation of multiple housing crises.

In short, the housing crisis has always been there, especially for less wealthy groups. We just see it more today, as it also affects smaller landlords and wealthier renters. Let’s make sure it’s not even worse for the next generation.

The big absentees on the market of ideas

The public conversation about the housing crisis too often leaves out central elements of the problem. The current conversation is too often framed as a supply problem. Of course, this problem is serious and urgent. It nevertheless overshadows other conditions and other ideals which facilitate the worsening of the current crisis. A conversation is necessary on, among other things, the increase in inequalities linked to the real estate market, the difficult balance between the rights of owners and those of tenants and the problem of intergenerational justice.

Imagine something else

The current crisis requires rapid and concrete solutions, but it also requires thinking about what Quebec, like other societies, wants for the future of housing here. We must then open conversations about the role housing plays in increasing inequality. The real estate market has been a driving force behind the concentration of assets in recent decades. In financializing the market, we have contributed both to making it less accessible and more and more expensive, but we have also contributed to concentrating this creation of wealth to varying degrees. From small owners to corporations, there is a world, we understand. But we have worsened a fissure that already existed between landlords and tenants.

Owning a home today (as always) is a determining factor in a person’s ability to have the stability to achieve their goals.

We must rebalance the rights of owners and those of tenants so as to take into account that, in absolute terms, tenants depend on the will of their landlord. Tenants must increasingly “sell” themselves to their landlord to have the right to housing (credit rating, income, guarantees, cover letters), they must accept increasingly difficult conditions (unsanitary conditions, high cost, transport) and above all, can always find themselves evicted from their home. It is time to take this inequality into account and strengthen rental rights.

We must also open the difficult conversation about intergenerational justice. The amplification of the value of real estate has contributed to the exponential enrichment of part of the population and today threatens to contribute to the impoverishment of younger generations.

To deal with this other gap, that between generations, the solutions are difficult and touch on deep values. But we have to start naming them, in addition to everything we are already doing to try to avoid the worst. This forces difficult questions, particularly about inheritance. It may be time to consider higher taxation when transferring your assets. We must ask ourselves if tax measures like CELIAPP are really useful or if they do not simply strengthen the assets of those who have the luxury of saving enough.

We need to consider, from an environmental perspective as well, our relationship to vacant spaces, particularly second and third properties that remain unoccupied for most of the year. These measures are exploratory, but they force us to think about fundamental questions about our relationship to property, to the occupation of the territory and to what we want to leave as a society to future generations.

The need for a strong right to housing

Thinking about the housing crisis with the achievement of social justice in mind means engaging in reflection on the conditions and ideals that contribute to the current situation. We have a collective responsibility to demand a fairer housing society, where the rights of all are respected. Where the right to housing is a strong right. Housing is a cornerstone of achieving social justice, we must have the courage to rethink it from every angle so as not to have to do it again tomorrow.

What do you think ? Participate in the dialogue

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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