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Motion to license Ottawa landlords voted down by council

Staff say a registry would be expensive, ineffective and add another layer of bureaucracy.

The City of Ottawa has decided not to licence landlords. 

Council rejected the motion put forward by councillors Shawn Menard and Rawlson King by a vote of 14 to 7. The councillors, along with low-income tenant advocates like ACORN, hoped that licencing problem landlords would hold them accountable for the state of their properties.

City staff said the risk with licencing landlords is that the costs get passed down to the tenants.

"An average tenant in a low-income property could end up paying anywhere between $170 and close to $1,000," said Mayor Jim Watson, adding that "I don't think that's fair to penalize tenants."

Watson said a landlord registry would add another layer of bureaucracy and would become very expensive, with 133,000 rental units in the city.

He added that the system currently in place is effective.

"The property standards bylaw works well, the landlord tenant act protects tenants, fire safety codes are in place as well"

Council did approve the hiring of two more bylaw officers to help deal with pests and vermin.

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