The following letter has been sent to the City’s Planning Committee, declaring our support for recent Rental Licensing report put out by the City.
The AWWCA has reviewed this report, and we support both the report and all of its recommendations. Approximately 40 per cent of the homes in our neighbourhood are rentals, and the impact has been substantial. We are not opposed to rental housing. We know there are many landlords who do care for their properties, many of whom have represented themselves to the planning committee. The problems arise from those who have no concern for their property, tenants, or the neighbourhood and are concerned only with profit. Owning homes for rental is a business and should be subject to the same types of taxes, regulations for property maintenance, insurance, and public safety as any other business in the City providing rental housing. The business owner’s plan needs to address all of the safety and property standards that are of concern to the community. Owners who neglect property maintenance and safety issues in order to make a profit do not contribute to the overall growth, sustainability, and integrity of neighbourhoods in the City.
The recommendations contained in this report address the concerns of landlords, tenants, and resident homeowners. The long implementation time frame will allow landlords to legalize secondary suites, ensure their properties are in compliance with health and safety standards, and give planning staff time to write the new residential zoning bylaw. There will be time to resolve many issues with illegal zoning in the core of the city.
The proposed fees associated with rental licensing are reasonable and should not pose any threat to profits for landlords or affordability to tenants. The fees are also designed to make licensing pay for itself so that it will not be a burden on taxpayers, despite what the landlords’ association says in its alarmist ads in The Spectator.
The secondary rental market is an important and substantial part of rental housing in Hamilton. Resident homeowners and landlords who take care of their properties deserve a level playing field in terms of ensuring that property and health and safety standards are followed. Tenants in the secondary market deserve well managed and licensed facilities.
We believe the recommendations in this report provide a balance for all stakeholders and will result in a much improved secondary rental market for Hamilton taxpayers.
Dr. Jay Parlar, President