Claiming there are few benefits — and many costs — officials in Regina say the city should not impose a licensing scheme on rental properties.
The recommendation is found in a report released Friday that is going to members of city council's executive committee, which meets on Wednesday.
'I don't think we're ready to go down that road.' - City council - Wade Murray
Officials have been studying the idea of requiring anyone who provides rental accommodations to obtain a licence from the city. The licence would provide a way to ensure compliance with city zoning regulations and safety laws, such as fire codes.
Enforce existing laws
After examining the issue, officials said the better course of action would be to work more diligently on enforcing existing laws.
"[Regina] plays a part in ensuring that all properties, not only residential rental properties, are meeting the relevant fire, safety and building code requirements," the report states. "The city is continuing to carry on that function through existing bylaws and does not recommend that city council implement a new residential rental licensing system."
According to the report, the most common issues related to rental properties concern parking violations and garbage. The report said there are rules to deal with such problems.
"Addressing concerns about noise, parking or property maintenance is appropriately done through enforcement of existing bylaws," the report said. "As a policy tool, licensing is unlikely to have an impact on remedying these kinds of infractions."
When it came to more complex issues relating to the state of a rental property, especially whether or not a property was up to with date safety codes, the report said inspecting each and every property would be expensive.
According to the city's report, the additional staff needed to oversee licensing would cost over $750,000 per year. The report calculated that each licence would cost $317.
Quality rental housing wanted
City council member Wade Murray said he has been advocating for good quality rental accommodations for years.
"There is a need to have a minimum standard," Murray said, noting that having good rental options is important for building a strong community.
"There are some rules that are already in place," he said, adding that regular inspection and enforcement of those rules should be taking place.
"Do we have to do it under a licensing regime? At this time I don't think we're ready to go down that road," Murray said. "There's a lot more to discuss around that."
Murray said he was also concerned that any costs associated with running a licensing program would be simply passed on to tenants.