City of Hamilton By-Law Enforcement and Rental Licensing Initiative

On September 18th, 2012, City Hall staff presented the Planning Committee with their report (section 8.1) and recommendations in concern to Project Compliance and a City Wide Rental Licensing program. The Hamilton District Apartment Owners Association, the Realtors Association of Hamilton Burlington along with several investors and local Realtors addressed the Planning Committee, speaking heavily against any notion of adapting any form of licensing regime that would inevitably have to be passed on to Tenants and reduce affordable rental stock in the City. The major issues brought forward.

1) The City of Hamilton will soon have a New Zoning Bylaw, and zoning infractions currently being brought before the Courts may not apply once the new plan is in place.

2) The units being shut down for Zoning "non-compliance" had been in existence for decades.

3) The Province of Ontario has mandated that all municipalities make provisions in their Zoning By-Laws for "secondary suites", promoting urban intensification: Hamilton has not done this yet.

4) Hamilton currently has over 5000 families on their affordable housing list.

5) Property owners are not given an opportunity to remedy.

6) No public consultation had taken place.

7) The "infraction" information provided by the Project Compliance team was misleading and did not provide adequate detail- it was actually a compilation of both owner occupied properties and rental units.

The City of Hamilton Planning Committee listened to the opposition and asked Staff to bring back a more detailed report, an idea of what the By-Law would look like, the costs of such a By-Law on the City and the pro's and con's of such a By-Law. They also agreed that they would set a date for official Public input.

December 11, 2012: Planning Committee reconvened and heard Staff's report. Cost to the City approximately 1.7 million per year and revenue of approximately $600,000. Loss of approximately 30% of rental stock, which would reduce vacancy rate to "0" . See the report at Item 5.1 & 6.1 here. They still recommended the By-Law: it would give them lawful entry into units and would improve safety of tenants.

The public input part of the meeting was comprised of approximately 30 delegations and lasted 4 hours. At the end of the day, the Planning Committee instructed Staff to work with the Hamilton District Apartment Owners Association, the Realtors Association of Hamilton Burlington and a few other delegates to come to a solution around the "underlying" issue: Student Housing and Bad Landlords.

HOWEVER, to date, the the City of Hamilton By-Law Department is continuing to investigate zoning issues and lay charges for residential zoning infractions in the City.

Check back for updates.



Metro News, August 22, 2012 "Hamilton Rental Licensing Battle Looms"

Hamilton Spectator, September 19, 2012 "Hamilton Landlords in Uproar over Licensing

Hamilton Spectator, December 5, 2012 "Licensing Plans threatens one-third of City's rentals"

Hamilton District Apartment Association (HDAA) special report