After an 11th hour city council meeting held on Thursday, Toronto council has approved a new bylaw that will protect tenants and hold landlords accountable to higher standards of maintaining rental properties.
Council voted 41-1 in favour of the new regulations, with council member Georgio Mammoliti voting against it, calling the regulation a “cash grab” and that the city is overstepping its boundaries.
“Let’s be honest. It is the province that sets out the regulations and guidelines and the City of Toronto really shouldn’t be dealing with this matter at all,” Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti told CP24.
The bylaw will go into effect on July 1 for rental properties that are three or more storeys high and with 10 or more units for rent. Landlords will be required to register with the city and pay an annual fee.
They will additionally be required to provide a sound repair and cleaning plan for common areas. Landlords must also respond to urgent requests within 24 hours, such as water and heat problems; smaller complaints must be dealt within seven days.
Other new rules state pest complaints must be inspected within 72 hours and handled by exterminators with tenant cooperation. The bylaw also sets a requirement for licensed contractors to be used, allowing the city to manage inspections of registered properties and issue orders.
Landlords who fail to comply with the new bylaws could face a hefty fine of $100,000.
“I think when it comes to peoples living condition it is fair that you have a responsible regime, which I think is to say to those people (landlords) that you are going to adhere to your responsibilities and make sure that tenants are properly looked after,” Mayor John Tory told CP24 following the vote.
Tory continued by saying that the new bylaw is aimed towards a small group of irresponsible landlords that are “in the minority.”
The bylaw will not apply to co-operative housing buildings, long-term care facilities or licensed retirement homes.