Saturday, 29 June 2013

Regina Rooming Housing Debate Continues!

Good afternoon Regina!

For those that recall, back in May, there was an open house hosted by some great residents in Whitmore Park regarding the Rooming Housing fiasco. Long story short, the City of Regina tried enforcing a ridiculous and outdated bylaw that forced homeowners to either vacate their premises or evict their tenants if they were simply renting rooms to others. This caused a lot of outrage, understandably, and the need for clarification by the residents and the City of Regina. Mayor Fougere went to the media and stated that this was simply a case of "an overzealous employee" that shouldn't have sent out official letters stating the homeowners have 30 days to comply, or face up to $10,000 fine and/or time in jail. I respectfully disagree with this statement, as I find it very hard to believe that a "low level employee" would have the authority to send out such a letter without higher-up approval.

I received this email today from Adam Knutson, who asked me to publish it on my blog. As I am rarely one to say no to respectful requests, here it is, in all it's glory! For those that want to follow them on Facebook, check out this link:

(I have taken the liberty to bold items that I feel are very important to note)
I am writing to you about the Rooming house situation in Regina.  The next step in the battle appears to be July 10th @ 7pm at the Knox Metropolitan Church.  This town hall style meeting is being put on by the City of Regina itself this time and they are expecting more then the 250 that showed up for the May 9th meeting that the Whitmore Park Community Association put on.

I have been passed this email and attachment from a source of mine.  The attachment details what the Whitmore Park Community Association(WPCA) expect the city to do in regards to rental and rooming houses.

I personally have a few concerns about their goals.  I personally believe that the source of all the problems here is in fact high rent.  High rent is why there are more people getting crammed into houses simply because they are trying to split the cost enough ways to make housing affordable.  The solutions that are proposed in that document will do 2 things.  Cut supply and increase costs.  I think that this will make the housing situation worse in Regina if they get their way.

1.  Licensing.  This concerns me because these licenses won't be issued for free and because they will have a cost we can expect that cost to be transferred to the tenant.
2.  Sub Point c) "R1-Residential Detached zoned areas have a limit of 2 rooming units." is a horrible recommendation.  Where does this group think that the people who are currently renting in homes with more then 2 people are going to go?  This will horribly cut supply and with our understanding of economics will put severe upward pressure on rent.
3.  Permits.  Essentially between the hassle of licensing and permits I expect a reduction in the supply of rentals.  We both know what that will do to price.
4.  No daily or weekly rentals allowed.  This is contentious to me because I had some pipeliners rent from me before and they wanted weekly rentals because they might be told Friday they would be based in Regina for 3 months and on Monday get told to move to another city.  It was just the nature of their line of work.  It worked out that they did stay at my place for more then 2 months every time they were in town.
5.  The call for city staff to monitor local web-sites that list rooming units to heighten compliance with the related bylaws.  Basically calling for an expensive surveillance state.  This will cost taxpayers and ultimately the tenants paying for the licensing and enforcement a lot of money.  Rent price would be forced up.
6.  They claim "...and likely increase the number of accommodation choices for roomers."  I think I have clearly laid out how and why they are going to increase costs and cut supply with these tactics.

I hope for two things from contacting you.  First that you can provide me some feedback on my views and secondly I'd like to see a lot of people who are struggling with rent come out to the meeting and let this group know that they are wrong and that they can't take another rent hike.  I take it you have some contacts who would be interested in this information and meeting.  The meeting information is as follows:

Knox Metropolitan Church
July 10th, 2013 @ 7pm.
City of Regina Public consultation meeting.

Adam Knutson,
Embattled Rooming House Operator

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Community expectations - Hillsdale and Whitmore Park
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2013 09:43:20 -0500
From: Brian and Kathy Black <>
To: <>, <>
CC: <>, Luc Lemoine <>, <>, <>

I have sent you the community expectation report that was provided to the City managers at our Tuesday morning, June 11, 2013 meeting outlining what we, as representatives for our 2 communities, suggest is a plan of action that our communities expect them to propose as part of the solution for rooming house and other room rentals to our City Council.  The City Managers were very receptive to our proposals and this was also endorsed by our Councillor Barbara Young who was at the WPCA meeting last evening and had talked to them later on.

Terry Madole, Luc Lemoine and Jeffrey King from Whitmore Park have been part of this plan and it was stated at last night's WPCA meeting that this report should be included with the minutes of the meeting.

The City intends to have another community meeting so that city residents will have an opportunity to listen to their proposals that they will include in their submission to City Council on July 29, 2013 regarding the options to control rooming houses and other rental properties in Regina. The meeting will have to be arranged in a larger venue than last time to accommodate the expected larger audience than our May 9 meeting at St. Martins. I would suggest watching the City Page portion of the Leader-Post for the meeting date announcement.

Brian Black

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