Posted August 26, 2020
In 2016, Ottawa ACORN re-launched our members’ years long fight for landlord registration. After countless building actions, BIG townhalls & rallies, tenant surveys, press conferences and working with supportive city councillors, we were able to push landlord registration onto the City Hall agenda in late Dec 2017.
While City Council voted against registration last November after intense lobbying by landlords, many of our members’ calls to action were heard. City staff today passed a new bylaw on rental housing property management and pest control. Some of the highlights from the bylaw include requiring:
- Landlords have integrated pest management plans to prevent and treat pests like bedbugs and cockroaches
- Capital maintenance plans for apartment buildings
- Information packages for tenants that must include up to date contact information for tenants to be able to contact their landlord/property manager, maintenance/cleaning schedules, how to escalate unresolved issues to the City (311) and more
- Landlords to have a process for receiving/following up with service requests with at least one written method and provide receipts or copies of the work order to tenants upon request
- Urgent issues must receive a response from the landlord within 24 hrs and non-urgent issues must receive a response within 7 days
These changes will go a long way in ensuring that every tenant has access to safe and healthy housing. Members also eagerly await the roll out of an online database of property standards violations so new tenants can know the history of a building before signing a lease.
But let’s be clear, these gains were not handed to tenants, they were fought for! The only way tenants win is when we organize together, building by building, block by block and city by city. So let’s keep the momentum going!
A big thank you to the supportive City Councillors that we worked with closely on this issue over the years and to our community/labour allies who attended our rallies, endorsed the campaign and made deputations alongside our members at committee.
But the biggest shoutout has to go to our members who have persistently raised the issue of substandard housing at chapter meetings, knocked on their neighbours’ doors, petitioned at busy intersections, organized and ran actions, shared their experiences with the press and led meetings with councillors and city staff. There’s power in numbers.
CTV News Ottawa: Protesting for Pest Control
CBC Ottawa: Tenants Rally for Property Management Bylaw
Ottawa Citizen: ACORN members protest infestations in subsidized housing