Ont. NDP: Fight for landlord licensing alive and well

“The proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act setting parameters on annual rent increases will do little to improve fairness of rents or address current gaps in legislation, which allow some landlords to evade their responsibilities at the expense of those who are responsible members of this industry,” Cindy Forster, the provincial party`s new point person on housing, told CREW this month.

The MPP for Welland officially takes up those duties when Queen`s Park opens for a new session in February, but her party is standing behind the tenant advocacy begun by DiNovo -- legislation that quickly became a lightning rod for many property investors.

“The major point of my rental bill was landlord licensing. That simply allows some clout at the ministerial level over landlords who refuse to comply with city ordinances,” DiNovo said last year before the election.

With a failed private members bill, the Toronto MPP sought to establish and implement a landlord licensing program to ensure minimum standards for rental accommodations as well as collect licensing fees, meant to generate funds for regular inspections.

Landlord would also have been fined for failing to comply with work orders and would lose the right to appeal to the licensing board to evict or demand rent-increases if an order were outstanding.

Forster is now using the winter recess to shape her own priorities, although is expected to advocate for key elements of DiNovo’s bill.

The NDP has also faulted the Liberal government for failing to live up to a pledge to create as many as 20,000 new affordable housing units each year.

Still, the party remains committed to holding landlords more accountable for the province`s existing units.

“The NDP believes the current laws are inadequate to deal with the important issues of tenants’ rights and the responsibilities of landlords and tenants,” reads a party policy statement released to CREW last week. “There needs to be greater clarity on rent regulations to ensure these are applied appropriately to all types of unit.”

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