A committee reviewing a landlord licensing scheme for Toronto has voted to move forward with what it says is a plan to rein in bad landlords and make them accountable.
Tenants have welcomed the move, claiming it will relieve squalor and other problem conditions in rental properties.
The current plan would affect only the larger rental apartment buildings — those with 10 or more units and three or more storeys high — according to a news report. It is estimated that approximately 3,300 buildings would be impacted. Those properties would be subject to annual inspections, and landlords would need to have a maintenance plan in place.
In addition, landlords would be required to pay a per unit fee to cover the costs of inspections. One proponent insists that landlords will not be allowed to pass that fee on to tenants.
While tenants, who represent a significant demographic in the city, have applauded the move, landlords and property managers are more skeptical. Many have expressed concern that the regulation targets everyone, and punishes those who already are keeping up their properties. Additionally, some landlords argue that it’s tenants, not landlords, who create the poor conditions in the first place.
In fact, Toronto’s mayor has questioned whether the proposed licensing rules will be effective in solving the problem. He has been accused of attempting to delay the measure.
Consultations with city council are slated to begin on June 7.
Currently, landlords are being tracked online. A website managed by ACORN Canada compiles a list of the city’s “worst” landlords based on reported violations. According to a statement from ACORN, its data proves the need for landlord licensing. Landlords, on the other hand, have suggested that many violations reported on the site are minor and are fixed within a reasonable period of time.
Lawmakers in British Columbia currently are mulling changes to the province’s rental laws to give more power to the government to levy fines against landlords there for poorly maintained rental properties.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.