The city’s plan to reduce the number of student rentals in low-density neighbourhoods around campus was simple enough: de-commission about 1,200 rentals, downsize all lodging houses to 3 bedrooms, and increase licence fees so landlords are paying as much as $800.
But when Waterloo, Ontario’s Council held a public meeting to announce the new proposals to area landlords, it’s fair to say that all hell broke loose.
Angered beyond composure, more than a hundred landlords packed into the council chambers and blasted city officials, with one landlord referring to the plan as a “great sucking vortex of devaluation”, according to a report in The Record. Landlords threatened lawsuits if the by-law is adopted.
The Council responded swiftly and with the obvious intention to diffuse concerns on the part of some of the city’s landlords that this measure will go beyond regulation, and put them out of business altogether.
After the meeting, the city posted a statement on its website, “The City of Waterloo would like to thank everyone who came out on Monday, January 10, 2011 to provide staff and Council with feedback on the proposed rental housing licensing program and by-law. Your voice was heard and we thank you for your input.”
The Council defends continued attempts to amend the rental licensing program due to its conclusions that low-density neighbourhoods would benefit from a reduction in student housing. The proposal does not include apartments. The Council prepared a study on the measure which included analyses of housing data including neighbourhood demographics and a review of licensing programs of surrounding cities.
Committed to entertaining continued public consultation, and Council has approved an amendment to the current lodging house by-law to place all renewals and new applications for the current lodging house program on hold until October 2, 2011, a delay they say will “allow more time to pursue rules that everyone can live with.”
Meanwhile, the city has agreed to extend all current rental licences in good standing to October 1, 2011. They will meet again Monday, April 11, 2011 to hear delegations regarding a revised draft licensing by-law that reflects the input received from the community between now and April.
As part of its commitment to hear from the public, the Council held a series a open forums during the latter part of January.
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