St. Catharines councillor introducing motion to stop further work on proposed rental licencing

Another new development in the proposed rental housing bylaw for the city of St. Catharines:

Councillor Mike Britton says he plans to put forth a motion during Monday's council meeting to 'stop all further work' by staff to move forward with a rental licensing bylaw.

The proposed bylaw, which was received as information by council in January as a working group was formed to look into the issue further, would require landlords to obtain a rental licence for properties with four or less units.

The working group continues to consult with the public and in a release, city officials say, 'a rental housing licensing by-law is not coming forward at this time. A consolidated comment paper from the working group will be brought to City staff this fall.'

The proposed bylaw was fashioned after a similar rental housing licence and student accommodation strategy in Oshawa.

Some landlords have claimed that the implementation of a licensing fee would force them to increase rent prices. More than a thousand people have now signed a Change.org petition opposing the proposed bylaw.

Speaking with CKTB back in April, Mayor Walter Sendzik said tenant safety is a major factor when considering the proposed bylaw. "There's a lot of folk who are living in units that aren't in the best of conditions and they're afraid to come forward because they don't want to lose the space that they're renting. So we have to make sure we're helping those folks as well."

Britton's motion also directs staff to investigate options of protecting tenants that will not result in increased rents.