City holds consultations on rental housing, short-term rentals

Residents voiced their concern at one of two public consultation meetings on rental housing.

The City of Ottawa held one of two public consultations on rental housing Tuesday night.

A study by a consulting firm commissioned by the city looked at concerns regarding landlord regulation, property standards, and short-term rentals including Airbnb and hotels and motels.

"For some people property standards remain an issue," said Valerie Bietlot, manager of public policy development for the City of Ottawa.

"Concerns centred on pests and vermin, repairs and standards inside buildings."

The study found pest control was the most common complaint with building interiors, followed by mold, water damage and general maintenance and repairs. Findings also issues in low-income buildings are likely under-reported.

"Those issues were not city-wide but they tend to be around problem addresses," said Bietlot.

"The consultant recommended we look at those problem addresses and try to find a solution to address those."

"We need a new system to give greater accountability to landlords because tenants are suffering some pretty awful conditions in the city, from mould to repairs not being done, bug issues, bed bug infestations," said Blaine Cameron, chair for Ottawa's Association of Community for Reform Now (ACORN).

"The current system is not adequately addressing those issues and resolving them."

Proposals to regulate rental accommodations will consider quality, availability and affordability of rental housing. 

"The city does not have jurisdiction to regulation rents, that's a matter of provincial regulation and a matter between the landlord and the tenant," said Bietlot.

A second public consultation focusing on short-term rentals will be held Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Nepean Sportsplex.

A staff report will be made public November 4th, and will be presented a committee meeting November 15th, before going to council before the end of the month.

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