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Posted in Bylaws / Regulations

Edmonton landlords breaking bylaws or safety codes could find themselves listed on the city’s website and have their licences revoked for bad behaviour in the future.

City staff are working on plans for a possible landlord registry to list those found guilty of health and safety violations. How Edmonton could revoke or put conditions on landlords’ business licenses if they create unsafe conditions is also under review.

No final decision has been made. City council formally accepted a report outlining steps the city could take to protect renters and mobile homeowners on Tuesday. Last month, members of council’s community and public services committee told city staff to come up with detailed plans and budgets for dealing with problem landlords’ business licences, and registry, so council can vote on whether or not to proceed during the 2024 budget debate later this fall.

Ward Nakota Isga Coun. Andrew Knack, who requested this direction at committee on behalf of Coun. Michael Janz, told Postmedia Tuesday this is something the city should look into because there are areas renters don’t have as many rights as those who own property.

As for the registry, Knack said there’s value in making sure potential renters can check whether or not the person or company they’re renting from has been found guilty of breaking the rules.

“I think the vast majority of people renting out will have good track records and have nothing to worry about. But where that is not the case, and folks have not been doing their part to have a safe and clean residence for folks, potential tenants should be aware of that,” he told Postmedia Tuesday.

“It’s just making sure that folks who rent have greater protection and control about where they might call home.”

Knack thinks this can be done without being too onerous and believes the information may already be available, although it’s not easily accessible.

As for business licences, Knack said enforcement of business licence rules has bee difficult in the past. He’s looking forward to seeing what city staff can come up with.

“The threshold that a municipality has to prove is so incredibly high,” he said. “If there’s anything we need to do on our end (with the bylaws) to be tightened up, we can do that.”

Some Landlords in Edmonton have been keeping underground and potentially illegal blacklists for hundreds of so-called problem tenants with, at times, little to no evidence required. Landlords in Alberta can already legally perform credit and reference checks of potential renters and search court records.

Other Canadian cities have launched or are also contemplating landlord registries, such as Toronto. Halifax city council voted to create a rental registry on Tuesday, and Montreal launched one last year.

Story by: Edmonton Journal