Monday's Council meeting (September 21) was long! We didn't get finish until about 11:30 p.m. But a number of good things were accomplished.
Despite a very strong disinformation campaign mounted by the London Property Management Association, the new by-law to require landlords of buildings with 4 or fewer units to be licensed passed handily. Only a handful of controllers and councillors (Polhill, VanMeerbergen, Miller and Caranci) voted against it. All the rest supported it except David Winninger who declared a conflict as he is a small landlord himself and Bill Armstrong, also a small landlord) who was away due to the death of a brother.
The new by-law is not all that I wished but it will give staff another tool to deal with the hazardous conditions that too many tenants of limited options endure. The license will cost the landlord only $25 per year per building. The fee will help to cover the cost of processing the registration of the landlord and to do some proactive inspections of rental units. The landlord will receive a license to rent units in the building upon completing a self checklist of various minimum standards with respect to building codes, fire safety etc. together with the fee. Penalties for false statement and failure to comply will apply. The self reported satisfactory condition of the units is subject to verification through random inspections following notification to the occupant. Violations will be followed with an opportunity to remedy the defect within a limited time period. Noncompliance may result in charges and loss of the license.
Although many residents wanted stronger legislation and a broader application to more or all rental units, the bylaw is a first for Ontario and we believe that it can be defended if challenged as the London property Managers have threatened to do.