Staff memo details number of complaints received regarding boarding lodgings and rooming houses

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A recent memo to council from the manager of the City’s enforcement services details the number of complaints received in regards to licensed boarding lodgings and rooming houses.
As of Nov. 18, there were 39 lodging and rooming abodes in Barrie, with 23 of them having received at least one complaint so far this year, writes Tammy Banting. Of those 23 locations, 10 were the targets of multiple complaints.
“The nature of the complaints have included both interior and exterior property standards, yard maintenance and zoning matters including, but not limited to, pest infestation, mould, garbage/debris, inoperable vehicles, leaking roofs, long grass and weeds. etc.,” she writes.
The memo continues that outdoor property violations can be handled without first getting consent from an owner or tenant, but gaining entrance to a residence is restricted. Officers must obtain permission to enter a residence for an inspection.
“A licensing process does not change this requirement and consent to inspect is still required and can be refused by either the tenant or owner,” reads the memo.
Staff reviewed procedures in Oshawa, Waterloo and Thorold, and found that licensing bylaws in those communities are used to handle concerns addressed in Barrie’s property maintenance, yard maintenance, and zoning bylaws.
Most of the other communities, the memo continues, “did not have these types of bylaws in place and did not have provisions to address some of the community concerns or had insufficient resources to enforce them.” Rather, they used licensing and enforcement resources as an alternative to bylaws.
“The licensing itself does not resolve the issue of access to the interior of the property, nor does it alleviate the day-to-day issues that are most appropriately dealt with through the aforementioned bylaws. It is staff’s view that generally licensing regimes have similar results to the implementation and enforcement through (bylaws) when similar resources are available.”
The memo concludes by informing council that staff “have already explored tools including, but not limited to, awareness campaigns, escalated enforcement timelines and proactive enforcement in an effort to address the concerns raised. The implementation will be accessed and initated in 2020.”
The memo was in response to questions from councillors about the number of complaints received relating to boarding lodging and rooming houses.