Changes to Toronto’s RentSafeTO bylaw

Friday, November 29, 2019

On November 26th, Toronto City Council voted in favour of amending the RentsafeTO bylaw, based on recommendations from the Planning and Housing Committee to beef up landlord responsibilities.

While tenant advocacy groups are in favour of any amendment that would effectively hold landlords more accountable for building maintenance and repairs, some of the new rules are not sitting well with GTA rental-housing providers.

The Federation of Rental Housing Providers (FRPO) issued a response to the changes, stating that it opposes this kind of “overregulation” and takes specific issue with the new tenant “re-housing” fees in instances where a building is damaged, or rendered uninhabitable, due to fire, flood or another occurrence.

“What makes this so problematic is that these changes include no consideration as to the cause and fault of an incident,” said Asquith Allen, Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, in the statement. “Essentially, if a building becomes uninhabitable due to the actions of one or more tenants, the landlord may foot the bill for temporary accommodations and city staff time.”

The RentSafeTO bylaw, which was passed by city council in 2017, allows city staff to enforce property standards across buildings in Toronto. But since its introduction,  tenants have complained that landlords haven’t been adhering to all the rules.

In addition to the new fees and charges, landlords will now be required to post pest-control timelines and publicly share any fire code violations. They will also be required to adhere to a new standard timeline for repairs.

The rules will apply to all rental properties with three or more storeys and 10 units or more, but all apartments, including single basement apartments, are covered by property standards. The full list of recommendations can be found here.

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