Desperate tenants call on city hall to license every rental

The Renaissance high rise in downtown London. (Google Maps)

London will consider expanding the requirement to license rental units to include highrises and stacked townhouses.

On Tuesday, several tenants spoke to the Community and Protective Services (CAPS) Committee in support of a political push to crack down on negligent landlords.

A downtown tenant told the committee that the province’s Landlord and Tenant Act falls short of protecting low-income renters.

“We need more ways to hold them (landlords) accountable because it’s a reactionary system where the poor get screwed because we’re either busy working or busy at school,” she said.

Currently, city hall only licenses small-scale landlords— requiring fire and building code inspections.

Orest Katolyk, Chief Municipal Law Enforcement Officer told the committee that inspecting 47,000 additional units would require hiring 37 by-law officers at a cost of $3 million.

The CAPS Committee recommended having staff prepare a report outlining various strategies and costs related to expanded licensing.

“I look forward to seeing what the report is going to look like,” said Councillor Arielle Kayabaga. “I hope that it is going to be informed on the issues we are talking about, providing protection for tenants.”

A motion by Councillor Shawn Lewis to create a Rental Issues Task Force also received the committee’s endorsement.

Council will make a final decision on March 23.