License bylaw incenses landlords

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The drive for a proposed landlord-licensing bylaw in London hit its first obstacle during an open meeting Wednesday night at Centennial Hall.

With about 50 speakers expressing their views before the assembly, an overwhelming majority were against any form of licensing, Orest Katolyk, manager of bylaw enforcement in London, said.

Katolyk cited a flyer that was circulated by the London Property Management Association to its tenants over the last couple of days.

The flyer, predominately posted in high-rises, warned the proposed licenses would lead to monthly rent increases of over $20.

“A large part of [the opposition to licensing] was because of the [rent increase] suggestion put forward in the flyer,” Katolyk explained.

“What [the flyer] did was create about 150 phone calls from tenants who believed the city was proposing to increase their rent by $20 a month to deal with students and bylaw enforcement,” Katolyk added.

The LPMA could not be reached for comment, but Richard Izawa, president of the LPMA, previously told The Gazette, “Rental housing in Ontario is the most heavily regulated business in the province.”

He named numerous bylaws landlords must deal with already. “The city has survived quite well so far without licensing.”

Katolyk explained the $20 monthly increase was based on numbers taken from Oshawa, which has recently enacted landlord licensing. He stressed London has yet to announce a fee or even take a firm position on licensing and the open house was meant to receive public opinion.

Ward 13 Councillor Judy Bryant explained the meeting was mainly attended by representatives from large, multiple-rental units as opposed to smaller, single-family dwellings.

“Property management companies like LPMA can reach a lot of people,” Bryant said. “It’s nice that a lot of people came out [to the meeting].”

The general consensus of the crowds seemed to be a move to more efficient and stringent enforcement of existing bylaws, according to Bryant.

“Strong cities have strong, well balanced communities, and they can be brought down if you have issues such as unsafe, unhealthy illegal housing,” Bryant said

The committee will take the feedback and hold another open meeting at a yet to be determined date in the future.

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