Emergency and Protective Services is conducting a review of regulations governing private sector rental properties to address public health and safety, consumer protection, community nuisances and other areas of municipal concern.
Maclaren Municipal Consulting is conducting an independent review of Ottawa’s regulations concerning private sector rental housing to identify any areas for improvement and recommend possible solutions.
Maclaren is also conducting a number of in-person workshops across the City. Everyone is welcome to participate, but you must register to attend.
Further information about the rental accommodations study is below.
Approximately 1/3 of Ottawa’s residents live in rental housing.
For many, rental housing provides a flexible and affordable alternative to home ownership. For some, rental housing brings unwelcome challenges based on the quality, availability and affordability of rental units that meet their needs.
While the Province of Ontario regulates most aspects of the relationship between tenants and landlords, the City of Ottawa has enacted a number of by-laws which directly or indirectly regulate rental housing. These include:
- The Building By-law (2014-220) regulates the administration and enforcement of the Ontario Building Code Act, 1992 respecting the construction, renovation or any change of use of buildings and designated structures.
- The Heat By-law (2010-210) regulates the maintenance of adequate heat in rented dwelling accommodations.
- The Licensing By-law (2002-189), Schedule 26 licenses and regulates rooming houses.
- The Property Maintenance By-law (2005-208) regulates the clearing and cleaning of refuse, debris or snow and ice from all properties.
- The Property Standards By-law (2013-416) prescribes standards under which properties are to be maintained. This by-law regulates residential properties, non-residential properties, vacant buildings, vacant lands, open space land, and Heritage Properties.
The City is currently considering whether updates to these by-laws or new by-laws are required to effectively manage public health and safety, consumer protection and community nuisances related to rental accommodations.
The City will consider how proposed changes in regulation influence three key factors:
- Are the current property standards appropriate for rental housing?
- How can the City work to ensure these standards are met more consistently?
- Can regulatory changes encourage more investment in private residential rental properties, or protect existing housing?
- Do existing or proposed regulations discourage investment in rental housing or encourage loss of existing housing?
- How are Short-Term Rentals affecting the availability of private market residential rental units?
- How are vacant properties affecting the availability of private market residential rental units?
- How would regulatory changes impact housing costs?
- How is gentrification impacting rental costs and what role should the municipality play in managing resulting issues like “renovictions”?
The scope of this study is limited to regulations for private sector rental housing. Changes to social housing policies or funding are not included in this review. The study is also not considering changes to regulations for group homes, long-term care facilities or other forms of assisted living. Community input on these issues will be referred to Community and Social Services department.
Similarly, the study will not address development or other land-use planning considerations. Planning issues arising from the study will be referred to the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development department for consideration in the new Official Plan and other studies, such as the Residential Fourth Density (R4) Zoning Review.
A Rental Accommodations Working Group is coordinating activities and sharing information across six City departments:
- Community and Social Services
- Corporate Services
- Emergency and Protective Services
- Office of the City Clerk and Solicitor
- Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development
- Service Innovation and Performance Department