Metro News: Ottawa ACORN pushes for higher standards for rental properties

Tenants deserve a higher minimum standard of upkeep for their apartments, according to the Ottawa Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Ottawa ACORN has been pushing city hall to up the minimum standard for residential properties, as well as the enforcement protocols for absentee landlords.

ACORN members said they’re exhausted fighting mold, flooding and harassment by certain local landlords.

“Instead of saying minimum standards, can we not get these apartments, these landlords to ensure that what they live in, they can provide for their tenants,” said Nadia Willard, a board member with ACORN. “A paint job every two years. Vents cleaned. Air conditioners working. Making sure that there are no bed bugs. It’s important for them to show in good faith that they will do that.”

ACORN has been working with city bylaw inspectors to develop a new, more proactive inspection program, as well as a new system for posting outstanding city orders for problem properties.

City hall has recently launched a campaign to crack down on derelict buildings, but could not say if they were considering strengthening bylaws for run-down apartment buildings. A request for an interview with city officials was not returned as of press time.

Willard said their conversations with city bylaw officials, begun last fall, have been positive.

“(The discussions) have been very positive. They know what they’re doing, and they want to do the right thing,” Willard said.

“It’s not that they don’t understand what’s going on, it’s that (with) the bylaws, sometimes their hands are tied as well.”  

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By Alex Boutilier for Metronews Ottawa.