By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Landlords are now required to follow new COVID-19 health and safety rules from Toronto Public Health, city council has decided.
It means apartment building owners will have to follow specific rules to help curb the spread of COVID-19, rules that are in effect until Oct. 31, 2020.
Those include providing hand sanitizer in common areas, ensuring that non-essential common rooms like gyms and playrooms are closed, cleaning frequently-touched surfaces in public areas, and displaying Toronto Public Health signage on physical distancing.
The amendment to the city’s RentSafeTO apartment building standards bylaw comes in response to several landlords across the city not following suggested guidelines that were given months earlier, when the pandemic began.
“In a recent poll, the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants’ Association found that 55 per cent of landlords had provided any new cleaning practices to address COVID-19,” the notice of motion summary from council reads.
The motion also notes residents in Crescent Town who engaged in a clean-up and posted signage encouraging physical distancing and hygiene. It’s also noted that the landlord of the Crescent Town apartment took the signs down a few days later.
ACORN Canada president Marva Burnett, in a letter to council, added that “members are reporting landlords not complying with public health guidelines.”
Now, however, those guidelines are requirements.
Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford, who voted yes on the motion, says rules supporting tenants are critical, regardless of the pandemic.
“At times there has been a lot of confusion about what does and doesn’t need to happen to ensure public health in the home – especially in homes which have lots of communal space like apartments and condos,” Bradford said.
“By creating a requirement for things like having hand sanitizer, closing non-essential amenities, and frequent cleaning, the city is doing everything in its powers to help our residents stay safe and healthy.”
- Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.