When Lisa Elaine Fischer’s landlord repeatedly ignored her many repair requests, she and other tenants at her west-end building went to court.
It forced property management to fix some problems, such as the noisy garbage compactor, but Fischer is still worried about other more serious problems that plague the apartment in the Jane Street neighbourhood in west Toronto.
“The building is a time bomb,” Fischer said.
The mother of one, who’s been living in a one-bedroom unit for the past two years, says she feels unsafe. It’s only a matter of time before “a big fire” is caused by tenants using their stoves to keep warm , due to the inadequate heating system.
Aiming to address the concerns renters like Fischer face, the city of Toronto passed a tenants protection bylaw on Wednesday.
Some landlords have gotten away for many years from not maintaining and fixing their properties “with little consequence,” says Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow, chair of the tenants issues committee.
New rules, to take effect July 1, will regulate issues including rental property licensing and pest control to tenant complaints tracking.
Landlords will have to respond to urgent requests from tenants within 24 hours or within seven days for non-urgent matters. Failure to do so means risking a fine of up to $100,000.
Laurie Simpson, a member of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, says the tenant advocacy group welcomes the comprehensive bylaw.
“That’s been our 12-year fight here in Toronto,” Simpson said.
She says she hopes the new regulations would make landlords more accountable and “do what they’re supposed to do.”