A Green government would address the housing crisis

The Green Party released further details on their housing strategy today, including plans to invest $11 million over two years to support new and accessible housing and a commitment to regulate short-term rentals.

“Islanders have watched the rental market drop from a 4.8% vacancy rate to a 0.3% vacancy rate in just a few years,” said Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker. “Because of the MacLauchlan government’s failure to plan, PEI now has the lowest vacancy rate in the country. Homelessness and inadequate, inappropriate, or insecure housing has become a reality for many Islanders. A Green government would tackle the housing crisis with the immediacy it deserves.”

In their election platform the Greens have committed to invest $11 million over the next two years to support the development of new and accessible housing. Examples of initiatives within this fund could include:

  • Supporting affordable housing builds;
  • Supporting accessible housing builds and upgrades;
  • Support for shelters;
  • Support for skilled trades workers and education;
  • Support for those in emergency housing need;
  • Rent supplements;
  • Land acquisition; and
  • Planning, development, and consulting costs related to housing development.

A Green government would also begin to regulate short-term rentals in a manner that will protect long-term housing stock while allowing Islanders to participate in the sharing economy. A Green government would:

  • Limit listings to a person’s primary residence plus one additional residence.
  • Implement a 2% service fee on all AirBnb / VRBO room stays, charged at source direct to consumer, and remitted to province by online provider via a negotiated agreement.
  • Extend the 3% accommodation levy to all tourism accommodations province-wide including bed-and-breakfasts, campgrounds, and short-term rentals. Currently, these accommodation levies are required in Charlottetown and Summerside only for hotels and motels. These funds will be used to support new and existing marketing activities, and the increased administration (permits, inspections, etc) required to support this portion of the tourism accommodation industry. It levels the playing field with other accommodation providers. Implementation will occur when agreements are reached with hosting platforms.
  • Implement a contract of agreement with online service providers requiring an annual fee to operate paid to province, data sharing and analysis, and the direct remittance of levies collected on behalf of the province.

Other housing commitments include:

  • Increasing affordable housing options and home care support programs for seniors and people with disabilities
  • Mandating pet-friendly policies for provincial seniors’ housing with associated supports as required
  • Initiating a full review of the Rental of Residential Property Act to ensure that both tenants and landlords have appropriate protections
  • Establishing a dedicated ministerial responsibility for housing to coordinate policies and priorities across community partners and within government and to provide a single point of contact and accountability.