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CTV News Toronto: Toronto mayoral candidate announces plan to make rental homes more affordable - ACORN Canada

CTV News Toronto: Toronto mayoral candidate announces plan to make rental homes more affordable

Posted October 7, 2022

Posted on October 5th, 2022

A Toronto mayoral candidate revealed his plan to make rental homes more affordable and improve the City’s RentSafe program.

Prominent urbanist Gil Penalosa detailed in his “Standing Up for Tenants Strategy” he will ‘strengthen’ the RentSafeTO program by introducing a colour-coded system similar to what is used for the DineSafe program, among other things.

“Toronto’s tenants have been overlooked for too long. Everyone deserves a safe, clean and healthy home that they can afford,” Penalosa said in a statement. “These improvements will provide real teeth to the RentSafe program to protect tenants, and encourage the construction of more rental housing.”

One thing Penalosa plans to introduce, should he get elected in the upcoming municipal elections, are colour-coded RentSafe signs that aim to give landlords ‘an incentive’ to keep the building in tip-top shape.

“Landlords will be required to post in a prominent, publicly identifiable location a colour-coded sign that displays the City’s rating, along with posting that same information to the City’s website,” the strategy reads.

Next, Penalosa wants to implement rent control in all buildings that receive City support and appeal to the province to bring back rent control for everyone. In 2018, Premier Doug Ford scrapped rent control for all new units to encourage more construction and boost housing supply.

If elected, this strategy will also implement a maximum temperature bylaw of 26 C in all apartments to reduce the risk of premature deaths and decrease emergency medical services calls, as per Toronto’s former Medical Officer of Health Monica Campbell’s findings.

Penalosa’s plan aims to double the City’s Tenant Defence Fund, which can give more support to tenants who are fighting against rent increases that go above the standard inflationary increase (otherwise known as Above the Guideline Rent Increases).

It will also work to create incentives to encourage developers to build purpose-built rental buildings, and work to give powers to the City’s RentSafe officers to investigate Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) violations and hire more of them.

“These new powers will allow City RentSafe Officers to investigate ‘renovictions’, Landlords Own Use evictions and illegal ‘key money’ requests,” the plan reads. Key money is often a sum paid to a landlord as a form of a security deposit to secure a lease on a rental unit.

This rental strategy builds upon Penalosa’s ‘Homes For Everyone’ plan that promises to provide more affordable housing options, including building 100,000 more units and ending exclusionary zoning.

Torontonians can hit the polls on Oct. 24. There are 31 mayoral candidates this year.

Originally written by Alex Arsenych for CTV News Toronto