The long-running debate over the licensing of rental housing units in Hamilton has ended with some tough talk.
Councillors have stopped short of creating a licencing by-law, instead approving a permanent squad of proactive bylaw enforcement officers who will target illegal and unsafe rental units and crack down on what Sam Merulla describes as “slum landlords”.
At the same time, the bylaw officers are being asked to take into consideration “good faith” efforts by owners of unlicenced properties to come into compliance.
Councillor Brad Clark adds that if this doesn’t work, the next step will be licencing.
There are believed to be 8-to-10 thousand illegal rental units in Hamilton.
Many are in the neighbourhoods around Mohawk College and McMaster
University where students are sometimes crammed into former single-family homes.