City votes down controversial law to license apartments

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Plans to beef up existing efforts to crack down on substandard apartments

By Samantha Craggs

City hall has voted down a controversial new law that would have seen landlords pay $100 per apartment to license their units, opting instead to focus more on an existing program that cracks down on derelict units.

 The planning committee voted Tuesday not to license rental housing units in buildings with six or fewer apartments, which accounts for about one-third of Hamilton apartments. Instead, the city will beef up an existing proactive enforcement program and hire four full-time staff to investigate local properties.

 The move, which was the committee’s Plan B, is an effort to crack down on landlords renting substandard housing, particularly in the McMaster University and Mohawk College areas.

“It’s a serious issue,” said Coun. Terry Whitehead of Ward 8, who mentioned small homes with 10 students crammed inside.

 “We find individuals living under stairways with no access out,” he said. “We find people living in basements with no concrete, just a ground floor. There are many, many cases of people living in really bad situations.”

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Article source:  CBC Hamilton

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