Posted December 1, 2021
Larger rental buildings in Mississauga may soon get more attention from city inspectors as part of a new program.
Mississauga’s budget committee has approved a five-year, $3.7 million apartment standards and maintenance pilot program that will see many rental buildings in the city inspected proactively over the next two years and landlords paying an annual $18.25 registration fee per dwelling unit.
Ward 7 Coun. Dipika Damerla passed a motion in 2019 to have Mississauga staff study a program similar to Toronto’s Rent Safe initiative and at the Nov. 29 budget meeting said the pilot will help encourage tenants who are fearful of landlord reprisals to alert the city of problems in their units and buildings.
“Yes, there are good landlords,” she said. “But there are also bad landlords and the city just has to do this program.”
The program, which would come into effect in 2022 if the proposed budget is formally approved by Mississauga council, covers over 30,000 units in 337 buildings that are two or more storeys, according to a city staff report.
Daryl Chong, president and CEO, Greater Toronto Apartment Association, told budget committee the city was better off concentrating its resources on specific building operators that aren’t meeting standards and not start a Mississauga-wide program.
“We believe a city-wide program results in the dilution of the property standard staff time as they'll spend lots of time going to buildings that are well-maintained,” he said.
The program doesn’t apply to secondary suites, lodging houses, condos, long-term care and retirement homes in the city, as well as residential buildings owned by Peel Region.
According to a city staff report, a number of new bylaws would have to be passed including requirements for buildings to have pest and waste management plans.
Requirements to used certified trades people in buildings as well as a minimum standard for receiving and responding to tenant service requests would also be included in future bylaws, the staff report said.
Mississauga resident and Peel Acorn member Robin Vanderfleet told budget committee that the program would give landlords “a real incentive to protect tenants.”
“Right now, there are only real incentives for tenants,” Vanderfleet said. “We have to pay high rent on time every month to keep a roof over our heads, even if that roof is leaking, or we can easily be evicted.”
City staff estimate that the program is estimated to cost $792,400 in its first year with $631,400 expected to come back through apartment fees. That leaves the expected cost for year one at $161,000, which will be pulled from the city reserves or capital budget.
Over the planned five-year pilot the estimated cost will be over $3.7 million, with a net cost to the city of $300,800 after $3.4 million in anticipated revenue from registration fees.
Between 2017 and 2020, the city received 1,384 complaints with the majority related to the condition of a building, according to a Mississauga staff report.
Mould and water damage related to rental properties was also among the top complaints received by the city.
Article by Steve Cornwell for Mississauga.com