City plans to send 100 inspectors to survey 5,000 buildings

Many Toronto apartments may be getting much needed repairs after the City announced plans to survey nearly 5,000 multi-residential buildings this year.

The City launched the Multi-residential Apartment Building (MRAB) Audit and Enforcement Program in Dec. 2008 to survey and rate apartment buildings in Toronto.

According to Jim Hart, the executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards for the City of Toronto, they did a little over 200 building audits since the program’s inception.

The audits done so far are based on information and complaints from councillors, community members, tenant groups, and the knowledge of MRAB officers.

Hart says the planned surveys will be given priority based on the information gathered by those involved with the program. Eventually they hope to inspect all buildings, regardless of whether there were complaints made against them or not.

The City will send out 100 inspectors to do a walk-through of the buildings to help the Municipal Licensing and Standards team focus on the buildings in need of repairs. Their ratings and reports will determine whether a building needs a more thorough inspection.

Hart said they took existing resources from their division, because they felt it was something that was necessary and not done before.

“When we go out to a building typically orders are issued to repair or replace something within the building. We give a certain number of days for that to happen…we continually monitor any buildings that we’ve been into because there are issues that need to be addressed, and we go back to make sure that they are addressed,” Hart said.

Geordie Dent, of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, said he couldn’t comment on the recent city announcement, but tenants have not viewed the inspections positively so far.

“The issue that tenants are seeing; … inspectors will often come in and … issue a number of warnings against landlords. You initially see a lot of repairs done. However there are a couple of things we noticed tenants are telling us. One is that not all the repairs are being done, and sometimes inspectors don’t come back,” Dent said.

Dent also said that tenants tell him the inspections are not beneficial. They don’t get any reductions on rent, or a hold on their rent increases.

“Basically landlords should have been following the law, and they’re not. All this really does is try to make them to follow the law … tenants want to see these landlords punished,” said Dent.

He said normally these repairs are not upgrades or special things done out of the ordinary; that tenants should be getting what they already pay for.