KENILWORTH Council here has supported a resolution from the Municipality of Bluewater that would keep the status quo on the Residential Tenancies Act.
The province has introduced Bill 7, an omnibus bill that includes amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act.
Schedule 5 of that bill prescribes that local municipalities shall assume enforcement responsibility for residential maintenance standards, something that the province currently handles in Wellington North.
In other municipalities, the Ministry of Housing looks after enforcement of residential maintenance standards where there is no property standards bylaw, or where a partial bylaw exists that does not address the interior of the building.
Right now our responsibilities are the exteriors of buildings only, said chief building official Darren Jones told council on Monday afternoon. So if its a complaint on the condition of an apartment that someone is renting, it goes on to the province and they deal with it. (Bill 7) is really different than what we deal with right now.
Jones said that the bill includes the municipalities taking over some of the provinces responsibilities, including having to do with the conditions inside the building, such as bed bugs and unsanitary living conditions.
We get roughly 20 to 30 calls per year that we forward on to the province, said Jones. And they are being handled We usually dont have repeat calls.
Jones said that the province bills the municipality $265 maybe every other year for the service. He is worried that the province wishing to download this to the lower tiers that it will add expenses.
This would be something different that we currently dont do, so it would be a service increase, he said.
He also said that it would include expertise that township staff currently does not have.
We would either have to hire a private contractor to field these calls and conduct investigations, or training of staff (to do it), said Jones.
Mayor Andy Lennox asked if there was a cost recovery mechanism that the township could use if they had to take this on. Jones told him that there currently is not, and it would have to be dealt with as an amendment to the fees and charges bylaw.
Its getting less and less attractive all the time, quipped Lennox. I think we better stick with Bluewater on this one.
Council unanimously supported the resolution from Bluewater.
Mike Wilson is the sections editor at The Mount Forest Confederate. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the Confederate on Twitter and Facebook.
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