Mississauga.com: MARC program needs to work better for tenants
Posted July 24, 2023
Program needs greater transparency and accountability, writes April Johnston
The City of Mississauga started implementing the Mississauga Apartment Rental Compliance (MARC) program in July of 2022.
Aimed at ensuring apartment buildings are well-maintained to “support safe, secure and livable communities,” the city is implementing it as a five-year pilot program. It came about because too many tenants are living with mould, pests, untreated repairs etc. It took numerous actions, outreach days and meetings with city councillors by Peel ACORN to secure Rent Safe, now called the MARC program.
The program made a significant step forward toward tenants’ right to access healthy and safe homes through proactive inspections. It will impact 337 buildings with two storeys or more and six units or more (totalling 30,322 units).
However, the city has yet to make available a publicly accessible database that shows how many buildings have registered. This is critical because tenants need to know if their landlords have registered if the building has been inspected and the evaluation score.
Currently, tenants are dependent on when their landlords make this information available. Another limitation is that the inspection is limited to common areas or outside while tenants are grappling with a range of issues inside their units.
Another issue is followup. If the inspection of the outside was not done fully or properly or violations are found, these need to be followed up within a specific time frame. If there were gaps found, those need to be pursued and adequate fines need to be levied. For example, inspections conducted when areas were covered by snow can leave a lot of issues masked, such as cracks in sidewalks.
The key to MARC’s success is the extent to which tenants are able to access the program. This is only possible with greater transparency and accountability. Tenants shouldn’t be left with the task of contacting the city to access information that should be readily available to them.
April Johnston is a member of Peel ACORN, a community and tenant union with chapters in 10 cities across the country, including Peel.
Article by April Johnston for Mississauga.com