Renters not second-class citizens
Re: “Appalled by John Horgan’s $400 renters plan”, (Citizen, April 21)
I am a renter who lives within the City of Duncan. I owned my own home for over 20 years. However, my husband and I decided it was time to say goodbye to the constant work and cost it took to maintain that home. We wanted to retire and leave the responsibilities to younger people who have the health and stamina to take care of a home and property and have a little fun with the time we have left in our lives.
In so doing, we had to weigh the differences between renting and owning and they are considerable. We no longer have equity, but we no longer have yard maintenance. We no longer have lots o froom, but we have a lot less space to keep clean. Yes, Mr. McAulay, you pay taxes on your property which includes hospitals, parks, fire departments, and schools. What you don’t understand is that my rent pays for the same things.
Your property tax is reassessed each year and you have to pay more because of the rising cost for all of the above. My rent is raised every year as well in order to also keep up with those things. The assessment on your home just increases the value of it — I’m sure your home was not the half a million piece of property you started out with when you first bought it. The chunk of change I opay out each months goes to my landlord who owns my building so he can pay the taxes for me. He pays for insurance on the building, garbage collection, water, utilities, snow removal in our parking lot, and to all the people involved who come to clean carpets, wash windows, check our smoke detectors, and all the other little htings that go with living in an apartment building that I don’t have to write a cheque for myself.
Where do you think my rent comes from? I have worked just as hard my entire life to pay for my living space the same as you have. You get to claim your mortgage interest on your income tax form, but I don’t get to claim my rent. You get to claim a homeowner’s grant each year to help offset your taxes, but I get to claim nothing. I pay for the privilege of living in someone else’s house and I get no grant or tax advantage for that.
I do, however, have the peace of mind in knowning I won’t have to pay for a realtor to sell my home — all I will have to do if I want to leave is give a month’s notice. I don’t have the advantage of picking out a lovely new appliance if mine breaks down, but I won’t have to pay for one either. If my roof leaks, it won’t be my responsibility to have to hire someone and pay out for materials to fix it. If one of my windows breaks, it’s not me contacting Dobson’s Glass. If the plumbing behind my shower springs a leak, guess who get sot fix that? Not me.
So, in a nutshell, you as a homeowner and I as a renter still pay for the same things, just in a different way. Be thankful you have such a lovely home worth so much money and can still afford to maintain it financially and health-wise. If at some point you can no longer take care of your home and hav eto move to an assisted living facility, keep in mind that you will beocme a renter then, too. We really are not second-class because we pay rent.
I don’t particularly believe that Mr. Horgan should give us $400 either for renting our homes — frankly, I don’t want the handout — but if you really want a soapbox to stand on, maybe consider how much money is handed out to people who keep the drug dealers in business; this comes out of both our pockets. Maybe consider that the health care we both pay for works out to the same amount whether I make $20,000 a year or your neighbour makes $200,000 a year. I think you need to concentrate on a much bigger picture rather than the $400 Mr. Horgan has considered giving to renters, which will not likely ever happen in our lifetime.