RentSafeTO rating system coming to Toronto apartment buildings

Nov 28 2019, 9:55 pm

Council has voted unanimously in favour of beefing up its RentSafeTO program in an effort to keep landlords more accountable for keeping buildings in good repair.

The RentSafeTO bylaw, which was first passed by council in 2017, allows city staff to enforce property standards across buildings in Toronto.

Councillors voted 24-0 for the new RentSafeTO amendments, which includes requiring landlords to share any fire code violations, enforcement and cost recovery for city services, and support in housing displaced tenants when landlords fail to provide in emergencies.

Additionally, landlords will be required to display their “RentSafe evaluation,” which is comparable to that of the colour-coded  DineSafe cards posted at restaurants that disclose any violations.

Additional amendments to the city’s municipal code include:

  • Landlords must post any additional information on fire code violations, pest management activities to the tenant notification boards in their buildings.
  • Requiring landlords to give notice of RentSafeTO visits on notification boards at least 30 days prior to building audits with appropriate contact information for staff, or registering complaints so that tenants can ensure inspection plans incorporate relevant pre-existing issues.
  • Requiring landlords to post information on the tenant notification board about air-conditioned spaces in the building to include information about other places on the property that offer relief from uncomfortably warm indoor temperatures, including a cooling room or shaded area.
  • Requiring landlords to develop and maintain a capital plan for each rental building that includes a comprehensive five-year forecast extending beyond major capital repairs. This would include any common element improvements or any other anticipated work (including to roofs, elevators, windows, balconies, etc.) that would impact a tenant’s access to or enjoyment of their unit.

The anti-poverty group ACORN, thanked councillors for supporting tenants and said, “this is the power of a city-wide tenants union, organized door to door, building by building and run by the members, independent from government or business money.”

The changes to Toronto’s municipal code, as related to apartment buildings, will come into effect on March 1, 2020.

Ainsley SmithAinsley Smith

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