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Proposed Oxford Draft Water By-Law Drawing Concern From WIDREB Members

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Woodstock-Ingersoll & District Real Estate Board members say for the County to revisit the proposal, which they believe will significantly impact the real estate rental housing market.

WOODSTOCK/INGERSOLL - A recent draft water by-law from Oxford County is drawing concern from members of the Woodstock-Ingersoll & District Real Estate Board.

The bylaw holds landlords, not consumers, responsible for paying water and wastewater bills and the report on the draft Water By-law doesn't mention the impact to the rental market in Oxford County.

WIDREB President Neil Krushel says the current real estate rental housing market could be in trouble.

“The current real estate rental housing market in Oxford County is nearing crisis: the demand for rentals far outweighs the current vacancy rates, which are already at an all-time low, pushing rental market prices out of reach of many Oxford Residents. Oxford County needs to pay close attention to this market and avoid making hasty decisions that may impact their residents.”

If the County moves forward and adopts the Draft Water Bylaw, WIDREB believes the rental market would be significantly impacted in three ways:

- Reducing interest from investors to create more rental housing in Oxford.
- Pushing current landlords to sell their rental properties, further reducing available rental housing.
- Increasing rental prices to compensate in an already unaffordable market for many residents.

WIDREB Government Relations Chair, William Cattle says most of the landlords in the current market only own at least property.

“Much of Oxford County’s rental market consists of mom and pop landlords with one or more single-family rental properties - they are not all rich corporations or developers with deep pockets. Oxford County cannot afford to lose any of its rental market or further increase rental unit pricing right now. The County is simply downloading the administrative burden onto landlords at detriment to the real estate rental market.”

In November, WIDREB made a call to action campaign with its membership, which saw 119 emails sent to Oxford County councillors asking them to reject the current proposed draft Water bylaw due to the lack of consideration on its impact to the real estate rental market.

Krushel says right now the lack of information or consideration on the real estate market is concerning.

“WIDREB does recognize that there is an issue with how arrears accounts are currently being handled by the County, however, we don't want to see it interfere with an already suffering market. We've yet to see information or consideration of how these changes may affect landlords, tenants, and the real estate market which is

WIDREB and its membership is urging the County to revisit the proposal in order to seek out a fair and equitable solution for the community while adequately addressing the underlying issues.

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