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The public perception of landlords Besides COVID-19, another issue that will affect the future of rental housing is the perception of rental housing held by the public and by political decision makers. Too many people believe that private landlords do not care about the well-being of tenants, and thus do not serve the interests of tenants. That belief usually arises when people think about a large corporate landlord or a real estate investment trust (REIT). In themselves, corporations and trusts have no feelings; only people have feelings. But many corporate and REIT owners and managers care about their tenants. Many have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies, and seek to show tenants and others that their leaders care about the impact of their actions on people. They are to be applauded for that, and raising broader awareness of landlords’ CSR policies is one effective way of improving the perception of rental housing providers. Likewise, many rental housing providers do good works in their communities, or assist their tenants, and making that more well known would also help improve the perception. As well, landlords who do not support charities or good works are almost always still serving the interests of people. When people go to a supermarket to buy groceries, we don’t need Metro or Loblaws to “care about us” other than offering us groceries to buy, and keeping the store clean. Grocery stores offer thousands

20 | October 2020

of products to suit virtually every taste and different budgets. Grocery stores make money for their owners by being careful about the prices they pay, and being efficient about how they sell their products. But grocery stores bring us our food, and offer customers a choice of quality food products at a fair price, based on their costs. And that provides tremendous value to everyone. Rental housing providers also provide value to their customers by seeking to provide rental offerings of high value at the lowest cost. Because there are so many rental housing providers in virtually every community, we do not have market power. Rents are determined by the amount of rental supply, and how much rental demand there is at any point in time. The main value that every landlord brings to society is the rental units they offer in the marketplace. More rental housing means lower rents, or rental units of better quality for the same rent. Landlords do not need to care about more than delivering rental units and services that tenants want at the lowest cost, but we all care very much about that, and that is what really matters. As an industry, rental housing providers need to get more people to understand and believe that renters keep us serving the public interest the same way customers keep grocery stores serving the public interest, while owners serve their own interests too. By John Dickie, President, CFAA

Profile for Marc Cote

RHB Magazine October 2020 - Spin Cycle  

RHB, RHB Magazine, Spin Cycle, Coinamatic, Landlords

RHB Magazine October 2020 - Spin Cycle  

RHB, RHB Magazine, Spin Cycle, Coinamatic, Landlords

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