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Insauga: Renters not adequately protected in Mississauga, advocacy group says - ACORN Canada

Insauga: Renters not adequately protected in Mississauga, advocacy group says

Posted November 28, 2023

A Mississauga-wide program launched last year to ensure apartments and other rental units across the city are properly maintained by landlords is “failing to protect tenants,” says an advocacy group that’s now calling for an overhaul of the initiative.

Peel ACORN, which describes itself as an independent social and economic justice group that helps renters across Mississauga and Brampton push rental management groups to provide acceptable and appropriate living conditions, said in a news release that the City of Mississauga’s Mississauga Apartment Rental Compliance (MARC) pilot program is failing on several fronts.

Under the MARC program, which is similar to Toronto’s Rent Safe program, landlords/owners who don’t comply can be fined as much as $100,000.

However, Peel ACORN members contend the pilot is not working as it should, at least so far. In addition, they say a number of landlords in Mississauga aren’t complying with the new program.

They said a city-wide survey of 125 tenants, the results of which were released last week, shows that, among other things, “serious repair and maintenance issues” remain widespread and that there is “limited or no awareness” of the MARC program among renters in the city.

ACORN officials say survey results “underscore the issues tenants are facing and the immediate changes tenants would like to see to access healthy, safe and accessible homes.”

Results also indicate, according to Peel ACORN, that “many tenants are struggling with a whole host of basic repair and maintenance issues and many are not aware of the MARC program.”

In addition, the advocacy group contends that data it accessed “show many buildings got scores above 50 per cent (passing score) despite having significant issues.”

Peel ACORN leader Marcia Bryan said in the news release that the MARC program is simply “failing to protect tenants” as it’s supposed to do.

“Healthy and livable homes was the promise of the program, but landlords are getting away without any accountability. We need much more transparency and tenants need repairs done,” she added.

A City of Mississauga spokesperson said in an email to that officials there have received results of the Peel ACORN survey and are reviewing the findings with an eye toward “addressing any identified concerns collaboratively.

“We value input received from community groups and their concerns serve as a crucial part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring that the rental apartments in our city are well maintained to support safe, secure and livable communities,” the spokesperson continued.

“We understand the importance of transparency and accountability in maintaining the trust of our community and are committed to taking the necessary steps to enhance the overall effectiveness of the Mississauga Apartment Rental Compliance program.”

City staff will provide an update report on the program to council early in the new year.

Related specifically to the MARC program, Peel ACORN said the survey found that:

• 67 per cent of respondents are not aware of the MARC program
• 81 per cent don’t know if their building is registered under the program
• 80 per cent don’t know if their building was inspected in the last 12 months

Other survey findings include:

• 45 per cent of respondents said their unit needed repairs when they first moved in
• 20 per cent see cockroaches every day
• 50 per cent have experienced lack of heat during winter in the past 12 months
• 23 per cent feel it’s too hot in summer
• 44 per cent say their appliances work, but are old and have problems
• 28 per cent say their elevators are often out of order
• 70 per cent faced problems getting repairs done in the last 12 months

Among other demands, Peel ACORN is seeking stricter criteria for buildings to receive passing grades during inspections and a greater effort by the city to ensure that tenants are aware of the MARC program and how to use it to get repairs done.

In addition, the group is calling on the city to periodically evaluate the program to assess its effectiveness and, if needed, take corrective action.

ACORN Canada is a national community union of low- and moderate-income people with more than 168,000 members in 24 chapters across 10 cities.


Article by Declan Finucane for Insauga