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Landlords and tenants in two wards of the city are asking council to reconsider a new residential rental licensing program.

On Tuesday, dozens of tenants and landlords rallied together in front of Windsor City Hall to voice their concerns over the new program.

The protest saw many Windsorites against the new pilot study which was implemented last month by Windsor city council.

The two-year pilot study was aimed at owners in wards 1 and 2, and was put into place to improve safety at rental properties.

During the protest, many landlords say the program could force a rent increase, or in some cases, could see rental homes being put up for sale.

Under this new pilot program, property owners will now be required to complete a licence application form, confirm ownership and show proper insurance, provide a local contact for the unit, and show that the unit meets legislated requirements, including Building Code, Fire Code, and Electrical Safety Standards.

Four or fewer units are now required to secure a residential rental licence for each rented unit by May 31.

Diane Chauvin, a real estate agent and a landlord to properties in ward 2, says many tenants are going to be displaced because of this program.

“A lot of the landlords here have told me that they want to sell because they’re not going to be getting this licence. So wards 1 and 2, you’re going to a see a lot of for sale signs over there, tenants are going to be displaced, and a lot of the tenants have been there for years and years, so they’re paying below market rent. And now they’re going to have the sticker shock of going out and trying to find a place.”

Chauvin adds that she will be selling the home she rents out.

“My tenant who has been there 10 years, she’s going to have to go find another place to live with her family. She’s devastated, I believe that she called Fabio (Costante), I’m not 100 per cent sure, but she told me that she’s devastated from it because now she’s going to be out and that was her home for the last 10 years.”

Fonda Dong is a landlord to one property in ward 1 and was very emotional while speaking on the stress that she has gone through over the last month since the pilot program began.

She says since the program began, her tenants won’t cooperate.

“I have a rental property close to the University, and the problem that I have now is my tenants, they’re not cooperating with me, like with applying this licence. When I book appointments for inspections, they’re not showing up, they’ll lock the doors.”

Dong says she’s been told regardless of the circumstances, she’ll need to apply for the licence.

“I have sent an email to the city saying here’s my situation, my tenants are not paying rent, and they are not cooperating, they changed the locks, I have no access to the house and they’ve said unfortunate to hear that, if there’s people in your house you need to apply for the licence.”

Another landlord in the city who owns over 12 units in ward 2 says many of the landlords in the area weren’t aware that the pilot program would start so suddenly.

He says this new by-law is a duplication of services.

“These are services that the City of Windsor already has at their disposal. They already have the building department and building inspectors to handle property standards, and anything else that might apply to a specific property. The fire department is also able to walk into any house at any time to deal with any issues on safety and fire. So, this is just another layer of bureaucracy.”

He says many of the students living in the homes in ward 1 and 2 can’t afford another rise in rent.

“You’re looking at kids lined up at food banks, I saw probably 100 kids out there collecting a bag of food. So I think it’s a problem when somebody says, a politician says, ‘what’s another $50?’. Well another $50 is a lot if you don’t have it. So, I think we need to revoke it.”

The licensing fee is $466 for the first year and $275 for renewals.

Following the pilot project, results will be presented to city council for review and a decision will then be made on whether or not to make it a city-wide by-law.

Licence applications will be due by May 31, 2023, with education and outreach available prior to the deadline.

By-law Enforcement staff will start focusing on unlicensed properties starting June 1, 2023.


Story by: iHeartRADIO