Rob Ford says no to landlord licenses

Mayoral candidate Rob Ford says there’s no need to license landlords in Toronto.

But his opponents argue good landlords are essential building successful communities.

The mayoral candidates debated crediting reputable landlords at the Sept. 27 debate hosted by Scarborough Civic Action Network. Responding to heckling from the audience, Ford said the tools and mechanisms for tackling tenant troubles are already in place.

In the event that something is wrong with your home and the superintendant and landlord can’t investigate, Ford says to call the municipal licensing standards department. If a by-law officer doesn’t take a look, you should call your local councillor.

Rival Rocco Rossi said he wishes government service could be delivered via “the bat signal”, like Ford suggests. He condemned Ford’s solution of just calling the number and people will show up.

Rossi says more emphasis on the standards than the processing of renting an apartment and fixing it if there are problems. A more extensive education process will make people more aware; otherwise people will be taken advantage of.

“The real problem is yes, there’s a process in place but the people most at risk being abused don’t know what the process is,” Rossi said.  “We’re talking about people at the bottom, largely of their socio-economic run that very often English is a problem.”

Mayoral candidate George Smitherman thinks it’s necessary to license landlords but says the city must exercise caution in hiring $80,000 and $90,000 inspectors to ensure proper landlord operation.

“I think especially that we need to tackle from a regulatory standpoint: use our resources to tackle the landlords that have the reputations for being the lousy ones because there are some decent landlords that are out there,” Smitherman said. “The run of the sad reality is that tenants are taxed at rates three times both homeowners and condominiums but we need to work on bringing those rates down.”

Joe Pantalone was also in attendance.