Toronto renters are getting a new way to trash their awful landlords
Is your heat still not working after countless complaints? Or maybe your building has a pest problem that the management isn't taking seriously? It's hard enough to make ends meet as a renter in Toronto, and having to deal with persistent issues in apartment buildings can have residents feeling pretty hopeless.
In an effort to alleviate tenants' struggles, the city's RentSafeTO program rolled out in 2017. This bylaw enforcement program ensures that apartment landlords comply with building maintenance standards.
But it wasn't really enough in its initial form, eventually shored up in 2019 with an added "rating system similar to the City's 'Dinesafe' program."
Even with improvements added since its inception, the RentSafeTO program has faced criticism from concerned tenants who continue to endure slum-like conditions, including cockroach infestations and water damage.
There are, however, signs that the system could be given another boost through a private investor, revealed in Matt Elliot's Lobbyist Watch for February 2022.
According to the monthly roundup of applications in the city's lobbyist registrar, a Toronto-based company is looking to propose a software platform "to support RentSafeTO" and its building ratings.
Though the company is listed as having an office in Toronto's luxe Yorkville area, Public Benefit Technologies Corp CEO Yale Fox and COO Andrea Azzolina formerly served those same roles in New York City-based company RentLogic.
That company made a splash back in 2018 with a very similar plan, raising funds to create a grading system for New York City apartment buildings.
So how did that project turn out? Well, it appears it didn't turn out at all.
Matt Elliott states in his newsletter that "It's unclear to me what happened with that project," adding that the RentLogic website dead-ends to a 404 error page, and the company went dark on Twitter at the end of 2018.
But now it's back, and apparently being repackaged for the Toronto rental market. So landlords, be warned! Your tenants might soon have another way to fire back should you decide to ignore the service requests piling up.
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