Today, the City of Toronto launched a new interactive webpage that the public can use to view and download evaluation results for apartment buildings registered with RentSafeTO.
RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards is a bylaw enforcement program that ensures owners and operators of apartment buildings in Toronto meet building maintenance standards. Building owners and operators of rental properties that have three or more storeys and 10 or more units are required to register with RentSafeTO and comply with the Apartment Standards Bylaw.
The new interactive webpage RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards can be found at Toronto.ca/RentSafeTO.
The City evaluates RentSafeTO buildings at least once every three years. During evaluations, staff inspect and score the condition of common areas, mechanical and security systems, parking and exterior grounds. Buildings that receive an overall evaluation score of 50 per cent or less must then undergo a comprehensive inspection and audit of all common areas. During audits, staff also engage with tenants to educate them on RentSafeTO and document concerns they may have regarding property standards issues within their unit or the common areas of the building.
The new webpage will help improve access to information for both existing tenants and those looking for a new home. Making evaluation results more accessible increases transparency on the quality of apartment buildings across Toronto and makes building owners and operators more accountable to current and prospective tenants.
The RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards program was established in 2017 to enforce, and ensure compliance with, the City’s bylaws, in an effort to protect tenant rights and prevent the deterioration of critical housing stock. Under the program, apartment building owners and operators are required to:
- register their buildings with the City and renew that registration annually
- have a process for tracking and responding to tenant service requests
- conduct regular inspections in common areas for cleanliness and pests
- have plans for maintenance, waste, cleaning, and disruptions to vital service such as water, heat and electricity
- notify tenants of service disruptions
- undergo routine building evaluations
- comply with all applicable City bylaws
Tenants that have a concern should speak to their landlord first. Landlords have five days to respond to non-urgent concerns, such as low heat or broken windows, and 24 hours to respond to urgent requests related to the disruption of vital services, such as water, gas or electricity.
If a landlord does not resolve an issue in a reasonable amount of time, bylaw enforcement officers can issue a Property Standards Order, Notice to Comply, or a charge, which can result in fines.
There are more than 3,400 buildings registered with RentSafeTO. Between 2017, when the program began, and the end of 2020 the City has responded to close to 25,350 complaints, of which 24,670 (or 97 per cent) have been addressed.
Since 2017, the City has also completed more than 7,500 evaluations and 119 audits. During this time, the average evaluation score across all buildings has gone from 65.5 per cent in 2017 to 77 per cent in 2020.
To help raise awareness of RentSafeTO with apartment building tenants, the City has launched a public education campaign that will run over the next six weeks. The campaign will include advertisements on screens in elevators in rental apartment buildings, the TTC and the PATH, on social media, in multilingual newspapers and on several popular podcasts and websites.
Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings can be found at https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/toronto-code-354.pdf
“This new interactive webpage is another step in the right direction to help protect tenant rights. It will hold apartment building owners and management accountable and help prospective tenants make more informed decisions when looking for a new home.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Apartment buildings are an important part of the city’s fabric, providing valuable housing to a large segment of our population, including students, seniors and newcomers to Canada. It’s important they understand what RentSafeTO is, how we are working to safeguard their home and where they can go if they need support.”
– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair