THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay manager of licensing and enforcement, Ron Bourret, is looking into a city by-law which will regulate homeowners who rent to students. Bourret seems to favour the approach taken by Oshawa, which requires special licenses to rent to students, and involves fines if homeowners rent to students without a license.
This appears to me to be a solution searching for a problem. The Ontario Tenant Protection Act, the existing set of city by-laws which regulate noise seem to cover both the needs of the neighbourhoods and the rights of the students without adding another layer of bureaucratic red tape to the process.
Thunder Bay traditionally has a very low vacancy rate, to the point where it can already be difficult for visiting students to find suitable housing close to their campus. This by-law will exacerbate this problem by making it more difficult and expensive for homeowners to rent to students. This is an unnecessary intrusion into the business of those who own rental properties.
On the other side, the Oshawa by-law allows for inspections at any time without the requirement for a warrant or notice. Students who are already leading stressful lives could have enforcement officers coming into their homes without any regard for their privacy.
From either side, this seems to be a bad idea. If the neighbours are noisy, there is existing regulation. If your student housing is not properly maintained, there is existing regulation. We should be welcoming students here, showing them what there is to love about this city and encouraging them to stay. We should not be treating them like second-class citizens from the moment they arrive. To do so will further alienate an important population which could otherwise represent the future leaders of the community.
Candidate, Red River Ward