New rules for Hamilton landlords aimed at keeping units cleaner and safer for renters

This article, from March 23, has details on new rules for landlords aimed to ensure the health and safety of their tenants.

Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,

The City will be beefing up its property standards bylaw to make landlords more responsible for the health and safety issues of their rental properties.

For more details, please continue reading below…

City council’s planning committee told staff at its most recent meeting on Tuesday to amend the rules to cover gaps pointed out by tenant groups. Most of those deal with cleanliness and repairs.

Staff were instructed in January of 2020 to investigate apartment bylaws from other cities, and review how Hamilton could improve its own rules.

City staff presented their findings (Page 299) to council on Tuesday. In their presentation, they looked at five other Ontario municipalities that have a post-secondary institution and are a similar size to Hamilton. While staff said in their report that the current bylaw “for the most part is solid and suitable,” it acknowledged several areas where it fell short.

Tenant groups, including Hamilton ACORN, pointed out these gaps, which include:

  • Intercoms and security locking.
  • Appliances being kept in good repair.
  • Mail collection areas.
  • Common area/hallways cleanliness.
  • Garbage chutes being washed and disinfected.
  • Ventilation systems being cleaned.
  • Floors/walls having similar finishes upon repair.
  • Cupboards/fixtures/faucets in good repair.
  • Pest and vermin control.

Pending approval from city council, the city will change the bylaw to include most of those concerns, with the exception of pest control. The planning committee approved the changes unanimously, with one councillor abstaining.

Ken Leendertse, the city’s director of licensing and bylaw services told CBC Hamilton that while ants are included under property standards, the department is working with public health on a separate bylaw for pests, including mice and bed bugs.

Hamilton residents and other ACORN members spoke to the committee about their experiences with apartments in disrepair, reports the CBC.

Manuel Balandra described about having water-damaged floors, bed bugs, and a broken intercom at his building, which he said means paramedics or police officers knock on his window to try and enter the property.

Coun. John-Paul Danko stated that landlords often blame tenants for not taking care of their spaces, it’s still a for-profit business, and landlords are responsible for maintenance.

“It really is unfortunate that as a municipality we have to take this step. But the fact is that these issues exist in the community, and they seem to be perhaps getting worse in some instances,” CBC reports.

“Hopefully this will give some relief to tenants throughout the city,” Danko added.

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