If the price of doing business cuts into their bottom lines because they have to get their thirty-unit apartment inspected every five years, I don’t care
Montreal is taking steps to hold slumlords accountable and I love it
By Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief
Secretly I despise my landlord. Well, maybe despise is too strong a word. It might be more accurate for me to say that I find paying him to live in this lightless shoebox extraordinarily disagreeable. However, Vancouver is expensive and unfortunately, I am poor so this is the best I can do until I either get rich or find myself a rich sugar mama. However, I am aware enough to recognize that there are some if not many tenants who have it worse than me. Some landlords are more akin to the slumlords of horror stories and nightmares. They rent out dilapidated buildings and care only enough about the well-being of tenants to ensure that they pay their rent in full and on time.
On February 15, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante announced a landlord registry to “tighten the screws” on substandard landlords and their buildings. My first thought: nice. My second thought: this won’t make housing cheaper at all. But, it will forcefully hold some of the worst actors accountable for the poor quality housing that some unfortunate people are forced to live in. According to reporting from CBC, the new measure will first target buildings with 100 or more units before extending downwards to cover all buildings with eight or more units by 2027. When I think of the Sahota family and the horrifying conditions they allowed in their buildings I think it’s high time that something like this is tested out, worked on and widely adopted.
As this plan first targets the largest of buildings before working its way downwards, this should first address the actual businesses—meaning the people who rent to profit—before the small families that live in the same houses they rent as a means to make ends meet. Even though landlords in Montreal have already begun to speak out against the plan, I am unswayed. If the price of doing business cuts into their bottom lines because they have to get their thirty-unit apartment inspected every five years, I don’t care. I would be more sympathetic if it fell on the smaller households first, but the extensive multi-units, no problem for me.
There’s no doubt in my mind that there will be hiccoughs, problems and lessons to be learned, but I also think that cleaning up the most problematic apartments justifies the trials. Obviously, when landlords have their say, they will argue that the cost of upkeep is just too much and that mould inspections are far too onerous or whatever, but I think its high time that attempts are made to hold these businesses to a higher standard than the one that currently exists.