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Toronto city council has approved a new bylaw aimed at cracking down on bad landlords to better protect tenants.
The new bylaw will require landlords and building owners to register with the city, pay an annual fee and track all tenant complaints. The new bylaw will also provide effective pest control within 72 hours and require landlords to respond to repair requests within a week of being notified. Landlords who fail to comply with the new regulations could face fines of up to $100,000.
When it comes to living in Toronto, students don’t necessarily know how to navigate the rental market. Many students are first time renters, unaware of their rights as tenants, and are left feeling taken advantage of when their landlord isn’t meeting his or her obligations as a property owner.
The Ryersonian previously spoke with third-year hospitality and tourism management student Ryan Clarke on his struggles with getting his landlord to fix multiple maintenance issues, including mould and water damage.
Clarke said he is happy that the bylaw has been approved, but he isn’t expecting to see a sudden change in his apartment building.
“It’s pretty awesome that the bylaw has been passed, I just want to see change before I can give a ‘good job’ to [the city] for passing the bylaw,” said Clarke. “Until I see actual change, I’m a little hesitant.”
One of Clarke’s concerns with the new bylaw is that it could turn relationships between landlords and tenants sour, now that landlords will be paying new, additional fees.
“The bylaw could be a bit of a double-edged sword … in terms of how [landlords] treat their tenants,” said Clarke.
City council voted in favour of the new regulations by a vote of 41-1. According to a report from the CBC, the Greater Toronto Apartment Association objected to the regulations, citing that apartment buildings already have property taxes three times higher than what condo and house owners pay.
The rules apply to landlords who operate apartment buildings taller than three storeys with 10 or more units. This accounts for approximately 3,500 rental buildings in Toronto.
Property owners must sign up within four months after the bylaw comes into effect and then re-register each year after. The rules will come into effect July 1.