Posted November 26, 2019
Mississauga city council will consider a program of mandatory inspections and registrations for rental apartment buildings in the city.
City council directed staff to report back next spring on the viability and need of a program that could see Mississauga's building safety and enforcement process move from complaint-based to proactive inspections.
Ward 7 Coun. Dipika Damerla brought the motion forward and said a program would be similar to Toronto’s Rent Safe, which requires an $11.02 per unit fee for apartments buildings with three or more storeys and mandates inspections at least once every three years.
If violations are found under Toronto’s program, landlords and building operators face set fines of between $100 and $1,000 and escalating penalties of up to $100,000 for repeat offences.
Damerla said good operators will have nothing to worry about, and wants staff to evaluate what might work in Mississauga.
“I believe that government has to be more about education and improving things,” she said. “I'm not looking at (the program) necessarily as punitive but to bring everybody up to some minimum standards.”
Nabeela Irfan, who is a spokesperson for anti-poverty group Peel Acorn, said that the complaint-based approach is not helping people with low and minimum incomes rent clean and safe homes in Mississauga.
“We do have some tenants who have been able to actualize changes in their home but through a tonne of work,” she said. “We want to remove that burden from the tenants.”
Daryl Chong of the Greater Toronto Apartment Association, which represents landlords and property managers, said at the Nov. 20 council meeting that any program raising costs for landlords would mean higher rents for tenants.
“All new charges, fees, higher tax regimes, it’s all embedded into the rent,” he said.
According to Mississauga data, around three quarters of residential buildings with rental units in the city were built before 2000.
At the Nov. 20 meeting, Mississauga's director of enforcement Sam Rogers told council that city bylaws allow staff to inspect buildings prior to receiving a complaint.
But a proactive citywide inspection and regulation program is not the city’s current “service level” and would require more resources, he said.
Article by Steve Cornwell for Mississauga.com