OTTAWA -- The City of Ottawa wants landlords and tenants to work together to evict rats, cockroaches and other pests from rental properties.

And a new bylaw is being proposed that will also require landlords to maintain "common minimum standards" for all rental housing in Ottawa, including social housing units.

The Community and Protective Services Committee will meet Thursday morning to discuss the "Rental Housing Property Management Bylaw," for all rental properties in Ottawa, including social housing units. It will cover maintenance standards for buildings and deal with pests.

Staff say the new bylaw will establish "common minimum standards" for rental housing, "with the aim of improving the consistency of housing quality experienced by residents with minimal intervention by city services."

The proposed Rental Housing Property Management Bylaw would require:

  • Owners of apartment buildings with 10 or more units, or three or more storeys, to develop a capital maintenance plan for "critical capital elements", including electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems, and fire escapes
  • Landlords must establish a process for managing tenant service requests, and be required to respond to urgent requests within 24 hours
  • Landlords must maintain a "Special Assistance Registry" to address tenants who wish to disclose a need for accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code

Landlords will also be required to provide tenants with an "Information for Tenants" document that includes contact information for the landlord or property manager and outline how to submit a request for service.

The fine for failing to follow the bylaw is $500 to $100,000 for each day that the offence occurs.

Pest management

A November 2019 report shows that 23 per cent of service requests from rental housing relates to pests, such as cockroaches, bed bugs and ants, while a further nine per cent involved requests about rats, squirrels and raccoons.

Staff are proposing "Integrated Pest Management" in all rental housing units as part of the new Rental Housing Property Management Bylaw, that outlines pest control rules for landlords and tenants.

All landlords will be required to have an "Integrated Pest Management Plan" for rental properties that will include:

  • Schedule of preventative inspections that is reasonable for the age and condition of each rental property
  • Reporting processes for suspected infestation
  • Educational information about the prevention of infestations to be made available to tenants
  • Notifications and instructions to the tenant about treating the infestations, including how to prepare the unit for treatment

Under the bylaw, staff say tenants would be required to keep their units "reasonably free from conditions which may encourage pest infestations, and to report infestations or conditions that might encourage infestation to their landlord."

Tenants would have to follow instructions provided in a pest treatment plan, and keep pets free of fleas, ticks and other pests.

The fine for failing to follow the pest management rules is $500 to $100,000 for each day the offence occurs.

If approved by Council, the new Rental Housing Property Management Bylaw and the amendments to the Property Standards Bylaw will take effect in August, 2021.