City council toughens rules for landlords

December 15, 2016
Article Source
Toronto Star

Tougher rules for landlords and better protections for tenants could be in place by next summer, following the approval of a new regulation for rental apartments.

The new plan, accepted by city council on Wednesday, will require property owners to register with the city, have a comprehensive pest management plan that includes licensed professionals, use licensed contractors for all repairs and have a state of good repair capital plan.

It will also result in a process to track tenant complaints and the creation of hard targets for city staff and landlords to ensure issues are identified and resolved.

That means city staff will be collecting information from roughly 3,500 buildings, containing about 200,000 rental units. In Toronto, council heard, roughly half of the city lives in rental homes.

"This demonstrates that Toronto councillors as a whole recognize that tenants need us to take substantive action to make sure that they are better protected," said Councillor Josh Matlow to the Star, following the vote.

"For far too long, too many landlords have been able to keep their buildings in disrepair, leaving renters in shameful conditions without as much accountability and consequences as we need. We have taken a stand today."

The program is expected to cost about $5 million, with 53 per cent of the money expected to be recovered from an annual landlord registration fee, costing $10.60 for each unit, 12 per cent from enforcement action, and 35 per cent from property taxes.

If the funding plan is adopted through the upcoming budget process it would also mean 12 new full time staff members working in inspection and bylaw enforcement, on top of a staff of 24.

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