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What’s good for everyone

(Cartoon by Lance Goosen)

Just like any aspect in life, there are good landlords and there are bad landlords.

Many individuals or corporations that own buildings in the City of Oshawa are responsible and responsive to their tenants. But time has shown there are others who are anything but.

Tenants of a building on Wentworth Street West recently went two weeks without hot water, with some having to use shower facilities at the South Oshawa Community Centre.

The situation has been rectified and the hot water is flowing once again at the building.

But this reopens a discussion from a few years ago around whether the city should do more to keep on top of landlords.

Councillor Brian Nicholson, whose ward includes the aforementioned building, says at this point there isn’t much the city can do.

But that could change with the will of council.

In 2017 and 2018, council discussed implementing a city-wide Residential Rental Housing Licensing system, but the idea was quashed on two different occasions.

This type of system currently only exists in north Oshawa near the campuses of Durham College and Ontario Tech University (formerly UOIT).

The question is why? Why is this type of system, which is said to be proven successful, only available in a certain area.

And while students deserve to have responsible landlords, why do their rights essentially supersede those of other renters in Oshawa?

Despite what local politicians and realtors claim, for most people, the price of housing in Oshawa is not affordable.

Many renters are already being gouged by paying high monthly rates for units that hardly match the price. Shouldn’t they be given some kind of security that they won’t be “taken advantage of,” as Nicholson says many are?

The argument against the city-wide RRHL system seemed to be a lack of resources and funds.

For the renters suffering every day with appliances and showers that don’t work, insects and mice running across their floors, and absentee landlords who only come calling when the rent is due, this answer is not good enough.

City council should reopen this discussion and protect everyone who rents in the City of Oshawa.