Only 10% of buildings are adult only.

The truth is there is very little data about how many buildings are adult only in Alberta. A recent survey put out by the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) suggests that approximately 10% of condos are adult only. However, the CCI did not disclose who they surveyed, how many people responded, or whether the data is representative or scientifically valid. Their survey also does not take into consideration how many rental properties are adult only.

It is also unknown if the 10% refers to the amount of total buildings that are adult only, or to the amount of units in multiunit buildings that are adult only. That information is extremely important because one building could contain dozens of units, therefore having a much greater impact than the 10% figure suggests.

The CFHCA has asked Edmontonians to crowdsource a map to show how many buildings in central Edmonton are adult only. The number comes in at 48%–significantly higher than 10%!

Our map relies on people living in the community to provide the information, so we expect a certain margin of error. However, we feel this grassroots, community-driven data paints a pretty clear picture of the issue and the reality for families who wish to live in central Edmonton.

A vocal minority is disturbing the rights of the majority. In a democracy, doesn’t the majority rule?

Regardless of the number of people affected, we believe that children’s rights are human rights. When it comes to human rights it doesn’t matter how many people are negatively affected: one person is too many.

Children’s rights are like the rights of any other minority group, such as Aboriginal rights or LTGBQ2S* rights. Because minorities are usually small in number and quiet in voice they are vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment. Which is all the more reason that minority rights need to be protected by legislation.

In every genuine democracy today, majority rule is both endorsed and limited by the supreme law of the constitution, which protects the rights of individuals. Tyranny by minority over the majority is barred, but so is tyranny of the majority against minorities.” http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/term/majority-rule-and-minority-rights

If the legislation changes, kids will move into seniors housing.

The CFHCA fully supports suitable supportive housing options for vulnerable demographics, including seniors. We have no issue with age restriction in these sorts of supportive housing arrangements.

The problem is buildings that specifically restrict children from birth to 18– or even adults under the age of 40–without providing supportive services. We don’t believe that housing discrimination of this nature is appropriate from a human rights perspective.

The reality is that most people like to live in ground-oriented housing, and will choose to do so if such housing aligns with their budget and their preferred location. Even if legislation is successfully changed, it is not likely that current housing preferences will change for the vast majority of Albertans or that people will move en masse into apartments and condos.

Apartments and condos that do not contain family-friendly amenities (and most don’t)–or that aren’t located near schools or parks, are extremely unlikely to see a huge influx of families and children. The most likely outcome of legislative changes will simply be that expecting mothers and fathers who would otherwise have to move out of their apartment or condo will be able to stay in their home.

And some families that would like to live in a condo or apartment–many of them single parents, many of them going through a divorce or other life transition–will have an easier time finding a place to live.

Children make noisy neighbours.

While it’s true that some children can be noisy neighbours at times, it’s also true that people of all ages can sometimes be noisy neighbours. People make different kinds of noises at different times, such as practicing instruments, hosting parties, or arguing. Not to mention pets running around and barking, people walking in boots or high heels, noisy renovations, and the sounds of loud music and TV.

We recognize that noise can be an annoyance. However, one of the considerations and trade-offs to make when choosing to live in an urban environment is an increased level of noise. Children are not the primary source of noise in buildings–they are simply one example of the many types of noises that can be found in urban living environments.

It’s also important to be aware that noise travels more through a building constructed out of wood, and less through a concrete building. As a result, choosing to live in a wood-frame apartment building will be noisier than other living options, unless the building was constructed or renovated to ensure less noise transfer. If you’re not sure, ask your builder or property manager.

 

Children decrease property value.

We’re not aware of any research or data suggesting that children have an effect on property values, either positive or negative.

However, it’s important to be aware that CMHC will not insure a mortgage in an age restricted building. As a result, the pool of potential purchasers for condo units in age restricted buildings is smaller, which could in turn have an adverse effect on the selling price.

 

Age restrictions only affect downtown.

Age restrictions affect buildings across Alberta.

However, it’s fair to say that age restricted buildings disproportionately affect people who would like to choose an urban lifestyle for themselves and their families, but cannot find suitable housing due to age restricted buildings.

 

The only age restricted buildings are for seniors.

There are numerous condominiums and rental properties that are restricted to 18+,  and will not allow children to live in the building with their parents. Have a look at our crowdsourced Map of Age Restricted Buildings to get an idea of where these buildings are located in Edmonton.

 

This advocacy issue is pro-family at the expense of people without children.

We recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes, and fully support people’s choices not to have children. However, we believe children have the same rights as every other member of society, in keeping with the UN Convention on the Right of the Child.

This includes the right for children to live with their parents in housing that parents deem most appropriate for their family.

 

It’s not discriminatory to have age restricted buildings, it’s a choice.

We fully respect people’s lifestyle choices. However, we believe children have the same rights as every other member of society, in keeping with the UN Convention on the Right of the Child. It’s up to us as adults to ensure that those rights are protected.

 

Children damage property.

Property damage is not exclusive to children. People of all ages and income levels are capable of damaging property, which is why it is customary in Alberta for rental companies to collect damage deposits. We believe that barring families from rental opportunities because of negative perceptions regarding children is unfair and discriminatory.

 

Children don’t belong on balconies.

We are aware that some rental property owners in Alberta believe children do not belong in high rises because of the risk of children falling from balconies. While we understand the concern behind this point of view, we do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support this argument.

It is not unusual for children to be raised exclusively in apartment buildings in cosmopolitan cities all over the world. Empowering parents to educate their children about high-rise safety is an effective way to ensure safe living conditions for our urban families.

 

There are lots of housing options for everyone in Alberta.

Age-restricted buildings greatly decrease the ability for families to choose healthy and sustainable lifestyles. Sustainable cities are “people-friendly” cities, with great public spaces, opportunities for spontaneous interaction, and opportunities for people to walk and bicycle as much as possible.

Opening up the buying and renting pool in Alberta’s urban centres to welcome and include families with children is an essential step toward sustainable growth. The Child Friendly Housing Coalition believes that housing choices for families with children should be inclusive, not exclusive.