Research and Insights

Hamilton-Centre tenants urgently need more protection: election candidate survey

Mar 14, 2023 | All Publication, Housing and Homelessness

Green and PC candidates do not respond to SPRC survey on rental housing

The Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton sent a survey by email to candidates in the Hamilton Centre by-election to ask their views on the housing crisis facing tenants. The survey included questions regarding:

  1. The top three issues Hamilton Centre constituents have identified in conversations with candidates
  2. Candidates’ views on the importance of security of tenure for tenants
  3. Whether current provincial legislation favours tenants, landlords or finds the right balance
  4. If elected, what they will do to advocate for tenants in Hamilton Centre
  5. What changes to the residential tenancies act, if any are needed to protect tenants
  6. What steps they would take to help tenants of new rental units in Hamilton Centre who face high rental increases

All responding candidates agreed that the Residential Tenancies Act currently favours landlords, and that tenants need more help and protection in Hamilton Centre. They also agreed the rental housing crisis is a very important issue in the riding.

Hamilton-Centre tenants have experienced some of the worst housing tragedies in the city, including the current critical situation at 1083 Main St E., where tenants have been without running water for over three months. A map published by the SPRC in 2019 showed that neighbourhoods in Hamilton Centre has the highest rates of L2 evictions (eviction for reasons other than non-payment of rent). The SPRC’s recent Hamilton Social Landscape report shows that rental households in the lower city are growing at seven times the rate of ownership households. Hamilton-Centre is also home to many new rental housing units, but because they are completed after 2018, these units are exempt from rent control protections, with has led to rents in new units to be increasing at almost triple the rate of older units, as seen in the SPRC most recent Hamilton Social Landscape report.

Despite the urgent need for more attention on tenant protection in Hamilton-Centre by elected representatives, only two candidate from the four parties currently represented at Queen’s Park, Sarah Jama (NDP) and Deirdre Pike (Liberal), responded to the survey. Neither the Green Party, nor the Progressive Conservative Party responded to the email survey to share their views on the rental housing crisis, or what can be done to better protect tenants.

The following candidates provided responses: Peter House (Electoral Reform Party); Sarah Jama (NDP); Deirdre Pike (Liberal); and John Turmel (Independent). Full responses are included below. The Hamilton Centre by-election takes place on March 16, 2023.

SPRC Rental Housing Survey Responses – Hamilton Centre Byelection 2022