Friday, August 10, 2007

Stelmach's Robber Barons

Speculators, the lowest and sleaziest form of capitalist, in Alberta's hot housing market, are now the beneficiaries, not of social embarrassment and ridicule as they once were, but of the protection of the State.

Moral betrayal at Monarch

Shock that low-income housing is sold after being built on subsidy

The Stelmach government needs to close a loophole in its tenancy law that let owners of Red Deer's Monarch Place bypass a mandatory one-year's notice before turning the affordable-housing project into condos, said Red Deer-North's Conservative MLA.

Tenants in Monarch Place believed they'd have 12 months before their homes became condos. But they instantly became condos in July; once the units are sold, tenants have 90 days to clear out.

How, many want to know, can this happen?

"You can convert a rental premise to a condominium without any notice to the tenants, as long as you're not asking the tenant to leave in order to accomplish the condominium conversion," says Eoin Kenny, a spokesman for Service Alberta.

"In this case, they weren't asking the tenant to leave. They were merely selling the suite."

The numbered company that bought Monarch Place -- a subsidiary of Everest Developments Ltd. in Edmonton -- never told residents its plans for the complex. Registered documents show surveyors began devising the condo plan for the firm on March 11, four months before it took possession.

Residents thought they'd get one year's notice before a condo conversion, a requirement the Stelmach government recently imposed. But 1327545 Alberta Ltd. legally avoided giving any notice, through a provision that lets it convert and sell units as long as it doesn't clear out the tenants.

Many residents say they don't know who their landlords are. Haut said he has never spoken with the buyers.

Richard Cotter, the Everest subsidiary's lawyer, said his client was unaware Monarch was an affordable-housing complex until after it made its purchase deposit and condo plans.

In July, the company took possession and sold all units to condo investors. Rent increases and for-sale signs soon arrived.

Of course there is federal and provincial funding for affordable housing, but no controls to stop it from being condo-ized.
Since the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program Agreement
was signed,more than $98 million has been allocated towards the creation
of 3,683affordable housing units throughout the province. Federal and
provincial contributions to affordable housing projects are enhanced by
contributions from other partners including municipalities, local community
housing authorities, non-profit organizations and private sector companies.
Without regulations to control condo speculators, and rent controls in place there is no such thing as affordable housing for anyone in Alberta.

Bridge to Community: The Affordable Housing Crisis in Alberta, a documentary by Brent Spiess, takes an in-depth look at the housing issues in Calgary and how the boom is leaving some people behind. But while Calgary is the film’s focal point, Spiess hopes that Albertans in general can benefit from the film and connect with the issues presented.

“We think the issues here are pretty much the same as they are in Edmonton or Grande Prairie or Red Deer or Fort McMurray,” Spiess said.

In May 2006, the average price of a resale home in Calgary was $358 214, up 43.6 per cent in one year. Similarly, Edmonton experienced a 22.9 percent increase that same year, as average sale prices hit $242 936. The market has had a tremendous effect on renters, and it was in this context that Spiess began the year-long process of making his documentary.
Like his predecessor, King Ralph, Eddie is kicking the poor and disabled when they are down.

While the citizens suffer at their hands the Stelmach regime dodders on protecting special interests like housing flippers and other real estate speculators.

leading Keynes to make his famous observation (in his General Theory):

Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. And his reference point was the 1920s, when speculation, frenzied though it already was (especially in the USA) was, by comparison with its post-World War II evolution, embryonic.

What's more important than housing for Tories? Why golf courses. That is after all where the business of government gets done.

Alberta's Progressive Conservative government allocated more than $7 million in grants to golf clubs over three years, and almost all the money went to courses in Tory ridings.

More than half of the money was allocated in 2003, the year before the last provincial election, according to public government documents.


Pay 'Em What They Want

And New York Has Rent Controls

Stelmach Blames Eastern Bums

He Can't Manage

Drumheller Bell Weather

Stelmach Tanks

Alberta Deja Vu

Padrone Me Is This Alberta

Income Trusts


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1 comment:

dance1 said...

I am a small landlord who has worked hard and saved to acquire a 12 suite building where I live and provide rental space for my tenants in my retirement (age 60). Your intro calls you "libertarian" yet you would crush me under the big boot of government with rent controls. I take it the "liberty" you seek is selective and I am not among the people you think should be free! Why?