In our first month in office we were able to pass a motion to improve transparency for tenants at City Hall. The motion changed the functioning of the Property Standards and License Appeal Committee to ensure that original public complainants were kept notified of any appeal and that they could have standing in front of the committee to make their case. This ensures that tenants are made aware of landlord attempts to appeal work orders, and gives them an opportunity to provide their side of the story (whereas previously this was not the case). This motion passed unanimously.
Our office supported a motion at the Community and Protective Services Committee calling on City staff to report back on the feasibility of pursuing a landlord registration pilot project, as was recommended in the consultant report (but not the staff report) for the Rental Accommodations Study. Fighting for landlord registration was another platform commitment of ours in 2018. Unfortunately, this motion was narrowly defeated at committee.
That said, the report on long-term rentals is going to result in some positive reforms to the City's regulatory framework. You can find a summary of some of those changes here. The report calls for the following measures to be undertaken:
- Developing and enacting a Rental Property Management By-law, as described below and in the report
- Creating and enacting additional pest and vermin control regulations with standards and obligations for both landlords and tenants
- Increase re-inspection user fees in the Property Standards By-law (2013-416, as amended) for violators
- Create 2 additional by-law enforcement officer positions (2 FTEs) to undertake focused enforcement of property standards and property maintenance matters for problem addresses, on a cost recovery basis
- Establish tracking mechanisms to better monitor rental housing quality
- Explore the feasibility of establishing a consumer protection and education website with:
a. Educational content on tenant rights and related issues, including social media videos in multiple languages, subject to a funding source being identified for these initiatives,
b. An online searchable database to display the history of property standards and maintenance violations
- Explore the feasibility of providing greater transparency through Property Standards Compliance Reports or other documentation to both tenants and landlords following investigations.