A top rental developer in Toronto says a proposed renters’ bill of rights will do little to address the most pressing issue driving rental prices higher: supply.

Late last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced several measures would be introduced during next week’s budget to support the rights of renters. Among them, Trudeau plans more power for renters in disputes against landlords, allowing rent payments to count toward a renter’s credit history and a $15-million Tenant Protection Fund. 

Adrian Rocca, CEO of Fitzrovia, said developers need “meaningful movement” in next week’s budget if renters are to get any support in the end.

“We need to find ways to incentivize developers, the development community, to build more purpose-built rental units within the market and do it as quickly as possible,” he told BNNBloomberg.ca in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“We have been engaging with all three levels of government. So far the conversations have been generally positive, but we have yet to see any meaningful movement or announcements from the feds or the province around new supply.”

Rocca said his company has 23 rental projects under construction across Toronto, but has another eight fully permitted and ready to go that he can’t get off the ground because construction isn’t feasible in the current rate environment.

“We're all sitting on our hands right now because it does not make sense to (build),” he said. 

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While economists unanimously expect an interest rate hold during the Bank of Canada’s rate announcement on Wednesday, most economists expect cuts to begin at the central bank’s June policy rate announcement.

Still, Rocca says any small rate cuts will not help, as developers likely need rates down 100 basis points before construction becomes feasible.

“If you're doing it around the edges, it's not going be that helpful,” he said. “It needs to be significant.”

The Liberals have made a point to boost the rental supply in Canada. In September, the federal government announced it was removing the GST on new purpose-built rental housing, a move that the Ontario government soon followed.

Rocca said the tax announcements are “very helpful,” but with interest rates at their current state, the program is “neutered.”

“Right now, we're actually behind the eight ball from when that announcement happened and we really need some additional help,” he said.

“We don't have time to wait another year, year and a half, for interest rates to settle down. We’ve got to get moving now.”

Rocca is calling for the government to cut the GST on projects currently under construction and to offer a 20-year property tax abatement.

With files from Bloomberg News