More property standards protection on the way for Hamilton tenants

Hamilton will be strengthening its property standards bylaw, requiring landlords to maintain everything from faucets to ventilation systems to a minimum standard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton

The City of Hamilton will be updating its property standards bylaw in the hope of ensuring that tenants are not forced to live in substandard housing.

Members of the planning committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to ask licensing staff to toughen up the bylaw after various improvements were identified through a review of apartment bylaws in other municipalities.

Once the bylaw is updated, landlords will be required to ensure that things such as appliances, faucets, intercoms, security locks, garbage chutes and ventilation systems are maintained and in working order.

Hamilton ACORN, a local tenant rights group, calls it a great first step, saying that all tenants deserve healthy homes.

Spokesperson Dayna Sparkes says the next step is “proactive enforcement and protection from renoviction.”

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Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr presented the motion, adding that “good tenants deserve the peace of mind to have healthy and safe environments.”

Hamilton’s planning committee, acting on a motion presented by Ward 14 Coun. Terry Whitehead, initially voted to review its property standards bylaws and look for possible improvements in January 2020.

“We need to stay up with the times” on behalf of tenants, Whitehead said. “Their mental health is being affected by the quality of their living conditions.”

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