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Call for city-wide rental licensing

Councillor Brian Nicholson says tenants are being taken advantage of

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

After residents of an Oshawa apartment went weeks without hot water, one councillor wants tighter rental regulations.

Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson says residents in about 100 units were affected when a boiler broke down at Rose Garden Apartments.

The apartment building is located at 275 Wentworth Street West.

When contacted by The Oshawa Express, the superintendent of the building said the boiler was up and running July 31, a day ahead of schedule.

While Nicholson says it was a fight to get the work done, the superintendent denied this.

“When the hot water went down, I called the company and they started working on it immediately,” she said.

But for Nicholson, weeks without hot water is too long.

“I think the landlord could have responded a lot faster,” he said.

The city opened shower facilities at the South Oshawa Community Centre to residents.

“They are grateful that option is there to them. These people were heating pots of water and trying to keep clean,” Nicholson said.

In these situations, he says “there isn’t a lot the city can do” presently.

There have been unsuccessful efforts to develop a city-wide rental licensing system in the past.

In January 2018, city council quashed the plan for the second time within a month.

Currently, the city’s Residential Rental Housing Licensing system only exists in the area surrounding Durham College and Ontario Tech University.

The system was put in place in 2008 and requires landlords to maintain their premises per provincial fire, building, and electrical codes along with adhering to city bylaws related to property standards and zoning.

Nicholson says he believes this system should be city-wide, but not seen as a city-wide issue.

“I don’t think the vast amount of [previous] councillors have apartment buildings in their wards, so it hasn’t been a problem,” he said.

With many of the apartment buildings in Oshawa built 40 or 50 years ago, Nicholson says it’s a dual dilemma of older buildings and “absentee” landlords.

“They do the minimal amount to stay in business and collect rent. They really do take advantage of their tenants,” he says.