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Shelving rental licences goes to council next week

City hall is backing away from the idea of licensing rental property in Guelph.
A staff report that goes to a city council committee on Monday recommends against licensing, after many months of analyzing possible licensing programs and getting feedback from tenants, landlords and neighbours.
“While a licensing program may have some merit, it may not be the most effective or efficient way to address neighbourhood concerns,” said inspection services manager Rob Reynen.
“So, instead of licensing the business of rental housing, we recommend building on the success we’ve already had by enhancing enforcement and community education programs,” he said in a news release.
The report says licensing could improve the city’s ability to regulate rental housing by increasing access for inspection purposes and by requiring property owners to provide contact and property information.
However, the cost of administering a licensing program would likely be passed on to tenants, the report says, and licensing wouldn’t necessarily address the concerns of people living in neighbourhoods with high concentrations of rental housing.
Instead of a licensing program, city staff are recommending continued enforcement of noise, nuisance-party and other bylaws. It’s also proposing “several enhanced enforcement activities, such as pursuing search warrants to access properties suspected of non-compliance, cross-training inspectors to enforce building and zoning regulations, and increasing fines.”
As part of this approach, council might also be asked to consider adding one zoning enforcement officer as part of next year’s budget, the report says.
The report also recommends continued collaboration with community groups, as well as use of existing resources to develop communications and education programs designed to discourage disruptive or disrespectful behaviour by renters.

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