petition: support the motion for landlord licensing in Toronto
When my wife and I were still renting, we had the most amazing landlord ever. He kept the building spotless, he was on site a few times a week in case there were any issues, rent was reasonable, and most years he waived his legal right to raise it.
But I signed the petition because most people's landlord isn't that guy.
1. It's my understanding that in Ontario, a landlord can increase the rent once per year, by a given (by the government) amount -- as I recall, a number like 1.4% might be a reasonable example.
2. No idea. Think locally, act locally??
There is a guideline for rent increases in Ontario, generally based on the CPI. So, each year a landlord can increase the rent by this guideline provided 90 days notice is given (at least I think it's 90 days). A landlord can apply for an above the guideline increase in rent. They have to provide an information package to the tenants and then have a hearing at the Landlord Tenant Board for this to occur, and the tenant can oppose it, at which point both sides will have their say and a decision will be rendered. Unexpected capital expendures or repairs or higher property taxes can be justifications for an above guideline increase. Cosmetic renovations are not a justification for an above guideline increase.
I'm not exactly sure about the specifity of Toronto in this instance. But, to guess, I imagine that licensing of some different entities is a municipal matter. So, unlike a driver's licence which is handled by the province, a taxi licence, for instance, is a municipal thing. So, a cabbie with a licence to operate in Ottawa would be fined if she/he were picking up customers in Toronto (if they picked up a customer in Ottawa and drove them to Toronto, that would be fine, but they couldn't then start picking up customers in Toronto without risking being fined). Restaurants also, I believe, are municipally licenced. In Toronto, restaurants are inspected by municipal, not provincial, inspectors, who will then post a graded card visibly on their premises (pass, conditional pass, fail). Restaurants outside of Toronto have their own system (IE, perhaps towns outside of Toronto do not use the publicly posted graded card that Toronto uses).
Building inspections for residential properties are handled, in Toronto, via 311 (a local info line here). A tenant can call and place a complaint here, and an inspector will get back to them via the phone and, if they deem the complaint to be legit and a breach of the city's property standards bylaw (a thick document -- but again, it's municipal, not provincial), they will come do an inspection. This could result in an order being issued to the landlord. If the landlord fails to rectify the situation (IE, if there's no handrail on a stairway, or if a window to the outside has no screen, for instance, and the landlord fails to install one), then a fine could be given. See link
Unlike restaurants or taxi cabbies, landlords in Toronto don't need a licence at the present time. The hope is to have Toronto's Municipal and Licencing Standards include landlords as being a service provider requiring licencing. This is coming up before Toronto City Council shortly, and so the petition is specifically for this.
Congratulations to both ACORN Canada and to Kensington Bellwoods on having Toronto City Council approve, on June 9, the next step forward toward licensing landlords. City Council agreed to go ahead with public consultations, as staff had recommended, in a 33-6 vote.