Cornwall landlord licencing idea saved from trash bin again

In this July 2019, file photo, the Knox City Center apartment building on Second Street East in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A landlord licencing regime has been saved from the procedural guillotine a second time by one Cornwall councillor.

Carilyne Hebert asked to defer a decision on scrapping the rental licencing registry until council could hear delegations from the Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic and the SD&G Landlord Association, who both provided research for the city report.

Hebert saved it in November saying at the time there wasn’t enough statistical analysis.

While saying he wasn’t a fan of deferring decisions, Coun. Dean Hollingsworth supported Hebert’s motion. “Recognizing that this is kind of a fairly significant kind of commitment one way or the other…it’s not something we’re going to be doing for cheap,” he said.

It’s estimated the rental registry would cost city taxpayers well over $1 million. There is no money in the 2022 budget for it.

The idea was first proposed by former fire chief Pierre Voisine in June 2020 to undertake a $9,000 study. The registry is meant to make sure landlords meet health, electrical and building code requirements in order to be licenced. It would see them pay a fee – between $50 and $400 – every three years based on their compliance level.

But on Monday night, Coun. Todd Bennett said the city keeps hearing that many of the landlords in the city are good “and that’s true.”

“But my concern is, how are we going to protect the residents that are living with landlords that aren’t? I just don’t see enough in here (the report) that I see is going to protect those particular people,” he said.

Council then agreed to defer any decision.

There’s no timeline on when both groups will present to council.