June 21, 2011

The license fees were approved at last night's City of Waterloo council meeting. The licence fees as of April 2012, will be:

Inital Application Fee  
Preliminary Consultations $ 68.15
New Licenses A 4 Bedroom $598.66
New Licenses A 3 Bedroom $544.23
New Licences A 2 Bedroom $494.76
New Licences A 1 Bedroom $449.78
New Licenses D Class 1 $688.45
New License D Class 2 $625.87
New Licenses B & E 4 Bedroom $498.88
New Licences B & E - 3 Bedroom $453.53
New Licences B & E 2 Bedroom $412.30
New Licenses B & E 1 Bedroom $374.82
New Licences C $757.30
Renewal Fee  
Annual Renewals A 4 Bedroom  $326.54
Annual Renewals A 3 Bedroom  $296.85
Annual Renewals A 2 Bedroom  $269.87
Annula Renewals A 1 Bedroom  $245.33 
 Annual Renewals D Class 1 $375.52
 Annual Renewals D Class 2 $341.38
 Annual Renewals B & E 4 Bedroom $272.12
 Annual Renewals B & E 3 Bedroom $247.38
 Annual Renewals B & E 2 Bedroom $224.89
Annual Renewals B &  E 1 Bedroom  $204.45
Annual Renewals C  $413.07

Fees for Townhomes in Block Ownership: 

Townhome Complexes # of Units New Licences      
  1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom 3 Bedroom 4 Bedroom
4-10 $374.86 $412.34 $453.58 $498.94
11-20 $368.04 $404.84 $445.34 $489.87
21-30 $361.23 $397.35 $437.09 $480.80
31-40 $354.41 $389.85 $428.84 $471.73
41-50 $347.60 $382.35 $420.60 $462.66
50+ $340.78 $374.86 $412.35 $453.58
Renewal of Licences         
4-10 $204.47 $224.92 $247.41 $272.15
11-20 $197.65 $217.42 $239.16 $263.08
21-30 $190.84 $209.92 $230.91 $254.01
31-40 $184.02 $202.43 $222.67 $244.94
41-50 $177.20 $194.93 $214.42 $235.86
50+ $170.39 $187.43 $206.17 $226.79


Landlord Information Session

Start Date: Thursday, June 09, 2011  
End Date: Thursday, June 09, 2011  
Time: 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM  

Thursday, June 9
6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Hauser Haus, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, 101 Father David Bauer Dr.

Meet and mingle from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and then hear from City of Waterloo and Region of Waterloo officials and a representative of the Waterloo Region Community Legal Service for up-to-date information on operating a rental property.

Topics of discussion:
-Landlord/tenant rights
-POA and bylaw updates
-Neighbours service
-New rental living guide free to first 25 landlords 

May 10th, from the Kitchener Waterloo Association of Realtors:

In the waning hours of Monday, May 9th, Waterloo City Council passed a revised Rental Housing Licensing Bylaw. There were few wins, fewer losses, but many compromises in what was passed. The draft bylaw continued to evolve throughout the public consultation period, and highlights of what was passed on Monday include:

-     Bedroom limits for class A or B homes increased from three to four.
-     Class E licenses have been extended to 36 months (originally 18 months).
-     Police checks will be required of all landlords, and renewed every five years thereafter (instead of yearly).
-     Block licensing available for some townhomes held under a single ownership.
-     All landlords will need to complete an online education session.
-     Existing lodging houses will be grandfathered.
-     Council directed staff to return with a revised funding model based on the changes on bedroom limits.


May 10th, From the City of Waterloo web site: 
Council approves rental housing licensing program and bylaw

Waterloo city council approved a rental housing licensing program and bylaw this evening at the regularly scheduled council meeting.

The bylaw was passed with one revision:
• the three-bedroom limit for Class A and B licences has been increased to a four-bedroom limit. 

Public consultation has been an important part of the process with numerous public consultation sessions taking place, with feedback from these sessions being incorporated into the final bylaw.

The new bylaw will:
• equip staff with the ability to manage residential rental housing in low-density areas of Waterloo;
• balance the needs of property owners with the needs of residents looking for safe, adequate and properly maintained rental accommodation; and
• limit the impact of large rental units on residential neighbourhoods.

The bylaw will come into effect on April 1, 2012.  



Rental bylaw may discriminate, Waterloo council warned

By Jeff Outhit, Record staff
May 9, 2011

WATERLOO — City council may make Waterloo the first local city to regulate the rental of houses and townhomes, despite concerns that its proposed bylaw may discriminate against students and larger families.

More than 120 landlords and residents packed council chambers Monday to listen to delegations who mostly panned the proposal. Council did not begin its deliberations until late in the evening.

City planners say licensing landlords and limiting rented bedrooms to three will improve tenant safety and property standards and help preserve neighbourhoods in campus areas. Apartment buildings are exempt.

Ontario human rights commissioner Barbara Hall praised the city for revising parts of its proposal but warned that limiting bedrooms to three may discriminate against large families, possibly violating their human rights.

“At worst, this bylaw may be trying to determine who can live where, which is people-zoning” and is illegal, she said.

Hall objects to provisions that require a certain room size per occupant, saying “people should be able to share a bedroom” without landlords or bylaw officers “peeking through a keyhole” to determine violations.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors opposed the bylaw, saying the three-bedroom limit does not allow large families to live where they choose.

The bylaw got a rough ride from Paul Ellingham, chaplain for Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. “It’s not about health and safety,” he said, but rather seems meant to drive students out of neighbourhoods.

“I think the potential for far-reaching damage is contained in this bylaw,” he said.

Some landlords said they could support the bylaw, now that it has been revised to address leading concerns.

“This bylaw is a compromise,” landlord Mark Stapleton said. “A perfect bylaw does not exist.”

“I believe it represents a reasonable compromise,” landlord James McBride said.

Proposed rental licences would cost landlords $1.7 million a year by 2016. Rents may increase by up to five per cent assuming landlords pass all new costs to tenants.

“We consider it fair, for the foreseeable benefits for students,” said Sean Madden, of the student government at Wilfrid Laurier.

Student leaders said they can support the bylaw “with reservations” because it is meant to improve the safety and security of tenants.

Securing a rental licence would cost up to $461 per unit. Annual renewals would cost up to $251. Violating a licence could lead to a $350 ticket.

The bylaw would require landlords to meet building, fire and electrical codes, submit plans relating to floor space, property standards, maintenance and garbage, supply a criminal record check and allow a property inspection.

City hall would have to hire six people to help staff a rental bureaucracy funded by licence fees.

Following a landlord outcry, planners grandfathered almost 1,200 lodging houses that are allowed to have more than three bedrooms. Other revisions streamlined the licensing process and fees.

Longtime student landlord Bob Jackson called the bylaw “an unjust attack” on student tenants and “underdog low-rise rental property owners.” He complained about exempting apartment buildings and said universities should work harder to improve student behaviour.

Landlord Mike Milovick called the bylaw “a city power grab” against landlords and tenants that has little to do with tenant safety.

Landlord David Jackson said the bylaw is not meant to improve safety but is meant to discriminate against students. “It is totally geared to, where is the city going to permit students to live?” he said. “This bylaw has a strong odour of fascism.”

Oshawa, London and Mississauga also regulate rental housing.





Revised Bylaw as of May 5th: http://www.city.waterloo.on.ca/desktopdefault.aspx?tabid=2816 

It's going back to Council for May 9th. 2011.

Summary of revisions:

Key changes from the January version of the by-law include:
1) permanently recognizing existing licensed lodging houses;
2) recognizing all legally existing low-rise rentals with respect to maximum floor area devoted to bedrooms;
3) removed dining room, living room, and kitchen floor area requirements;
4) removed the limitation on number of occupants in boarding houses and removing the Minimum Distance Separation provision;
5) developing license fees based on bedroom numbers and incorporating a sliding scale for block townhouses held under single ownership; and
6) removing some license conditions (i.e. leases and corporate icome tax records not required)

Key changes from April draft by-law are:
1) License Requirements: Criminal Record Check, Parking Plan, and Maintenance Plan - originally required every year, now proposed to be required in year one and five, attestation in intervening years. Rationale: attempting to balance what Staff consider to be necessary component of the By-law with stakeholder concern regarding the amount of effort and the cost to license/renew rental unit
2) Education Sessions: Now propose to one-time only implement by on-line education session (although not upon program initiation) and require completion of education component at the time of licensing. Rationale: attempting to balance what Staff consider to be necessary components of the By-law with stakeholder concerns regarding the amount of effort/cost to license/renew a rental unit;
3) Universities/College Exemption - modified original proposed exemption such that only units on lands zoned for institutional use (BI) would be exempt. Rationale: low-rise rental units operated by universities/college should follow same rules if located off-campus


Revised rental housing bylaw still raises concerns
By Brent Davis, Record staff
April 11, 2011

WATERLOO — Revisions to a proposed rental housing bylaw were met with a mix of emotions by a capacity crowd at council Monday night.

Gone were the outbursts that have marred previous meetings on the contentious issue. Some of the speakers went so far as to thank council and staff for listening to their concerns in crafting changes to the initial proposal.

But no one expressed complete support for the revised document — and director of bylaw enforcement Jim Barry said some additional changes are likely before the plan returns to council for consideration next month.

One of the biggest bones of contention remains the fact that hundreds of smaller landlords will be forced to pay for licences they don’t currently need. Critics fear the new fees will force some landlords out of business.

“This is a lot for a small mom and pop operation to absorb,” said realtor Bill Keay, who said the city will look less desirable as a place to invest in.

Others predict rental rates will soar as costs are passed on to tenants. For students, “affordability is the No. 1 concern,” said Nick Soave of the University of Waterloo’s Federation of Students.

If implemented, the bylaw will cap rentals to three bedrooms per unit. Some believe the three-bedroom rule is too restrictive, especially for larger families looking to rent.

One of the most significant revisions would see existing lodging house licences, with four or more bedrooms, grandfathered under the new bylaw. Many of those landlords were vehemently opposed to the initial plan which would have forced them to downsize or convert to a boarding house, and made their displeasure known.

Resident Kae Elgie called the revised bylaw “a tribute to the power of bullying,” and scolded councillors for allowing themselves to be intimidated by the vocal landlords.

Battle lines remain drawn between landlords who rent to students and those that don’t. Many landlords who don’t cater to students are annoyed they’re being lumped into a bylaw that, in part, seeks to address problems like poor property standards and tenant behaviour — problems that typically plague student neighbourhoods.

Another hot-button issue is the requirement that all landlords undergo an annual criminal background check. Apart from the additional cost and time involved, landlords complain it is discriminatory and unnecessary.

Landlord James McBride pointed out that the proposed bylaw — with the accompanying background check — doesn’t apply to apartment buildings. “I guess crooks will just have to buy bigger buildings,” he said.

Additional consultation is planned in the coming weeks. People can also comment by emailing rental@waterloo.ca or by calling 519-747-8587.


April 5th:  The revised bylaw has now been posted online- it's 78 pages in total. http://www.waterloo.ca/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=2816

Grandfathering Existing Lodging Houses

Since the release of the original draft Residential Rental By-law staff has heard there is a need to grandfather existing lodging houses into the program, thereby ensuring that they do not lose any rights with respect to the existing maximum number of renters permitted per licensed unit. Staff has heard that existing licensed properties follow the rules and are not the problem properties. Furthermore, staff have been advised that requiring these properties to comply with the maximum number of rental bedrooms permitted per property in Class A and B license categories (3) as outlined in the original draft by-law would result in:
- Significant financial impacts for owners;
- Lost assessment to the City; and
- Lost rental housing supply, creating increased costs and a decrease in choice for the renter

Staff has considered this request and are recommending that existing licensed lodging houses be permanently grandfathered. Existing lodging house license holders would still be required to obtain a license under the proposed draft by-law and would be required to apply for renewals annually. In order to grandfather existing lodging house licenses, the property must meet the following criteria:
- Have a valid lodging house license in good standing that has been issued under the current Lodging House Bylaw 00-140 on the date the Residential Rental By-law is passed by Council;
- Submit a Residential License Application for approval within 3 months of the Residential Rental Licensing By-law coming into force and effect
- The Residential Rental Licence must not be allowed to expire'
- The use of the Resdientla Rental Property cannot changed; and
- Meet conditions outlined in proposed draft by-law




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