In a surprise twist, City of Guelph staff are recommending that licensing of rental housing be abandoned, and that the city continue enhanced enforcement and education initiatives in its place.
The Rental Housing Licensing report is to be presented to the Planning, Building, Engineering, and Environment (PBEE) committee on Monday, May 5 at 2:00 pm. Any member of the public who wishes to comment or speak to this report should contact the Clerks office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although there has been success with enhanced pro-active enforcement in the last two years, licensing was never intended to deal with tenant behaviour issues (noise, property standards, garbage, etc.). We have by-laws for these concerns. Licensing was intended to protect tenant health and safety, and prevent neighbourhood destabilization. Licensing is a different tool with its own distinct purpose, separate from by-laws.
There are great landlords in Guelph who comply with regulations and offer safe, clean and affordable housing to our citizens. However, there are others who knowingly and willingly rent sub-standard accommodations to the most vulnerable in our community, and should be held accountable.
Without right of entry to inspect, and in the absence of prohibitive fines for the those who knowingly rent illegal accommodation, the abandonment of licensing is simply the status quo. We owe our tenant-citizens better.
I would love to know what you think? Abandon the idea altogether? Defer licensing, and then pursue right of entry and stiffer fines? Or full steam ahead on licensing?