Metro News: Tenant organizations take aim at Toronto's 'worst' landlords

Posted May 18, 2016

As Toronto debates a plan to license landlords, tenant advocates are calling out what they say are the city’s “worst” landlords.
City inspectors hand out hundreds of landlord violations each year for everything from broken elevators to clogged toilets and cockroach infestations.
The worst offenders have now been compiled on LandlordWatch, a website launched Wednesday using data previously hidden away in hard to access databases.
The website is the brainchild of ACORN Canada, an advocacy group for low- and moderate-income families, and RentLogic, a company set to launch a Toronto-based landlord review website.
“LandlordWatch will clearly show that our landlords are not doing their part and that the city's basic maintenance standards are not being met,” said Marva Burnett, ACORN Canada president. “There is a clear need for a licensing regime for landlords.”
City councillors are expected to debate a proposal to charge landlords an annual fee to cover the cost of building inspections at Thursday’s meeting. Burnett says the current inspection system is too reliant on tenant complaints or proactive politicians.
RentLogic’s Yale Fox told Metro the data used to rank “bad apples” was paid for by taxpayers and should be easily available.
Landlords who appear on the list told Metro they believe the tool is inaccurate.
David Mills of CAPREIT said the methodology is flawed and overly simplistic. CAPREIT owns and manages 16,300 apartment suites in the GTA and landed 28th on LandlordWatch’s list, with 42 violations since 2014.
“That is really cherry picking some data that doesn’t speak to the dedication and pride we take in responding to resident issues,” Mills said.
Mills polled his property managers across the city and said only eight violations were still outstanding.
“The word violation sounds ominous, but it could be as simple as some burnt out lightbulbs in a hallway,” he said. “We fix these things as quickly as we can and are respectful of the timeframe.”
Article by Steven Goetz for Metro News Toronto