One-day audit of rental properties in student neighborhood planned
This Friday, teams of city officials and specially trained students will conduct a one-day housing assessment in a designated student neighborhood to assess the safety of rental housing and educate tenants about their rights.
Teams consisting of one fire inspector, one property standards officer and two AMS sponsored and city-trained Student Property Assessment Team (SPAT) members will knock on doors on University Avenue between Princess and Clergy Streets starting around noon. Tenants can pre-book specific times or simply welcome the team at the door.
“We see this as one more example of how Queen’s, its students and the city can be partners in creating conditions that foster better community relations and provide better living conditions for students,” says Joan Jones, Queen’s Town Gown Coordinator.
Twenty of the estimated 100 student dwellings in the assessment area are expected to undergo on-the-spot property standards assessments and fire safety audits, which require the permission of tenants.
“We’re aware that there is a real fear from students that they will be held personally responsible and fined or even get evicted if they report their concerns about property they are renting. But this is not the case,” says Ms Jones. “It is important for students to participate in order for this initiative to be a success.”
In addition to increasing safety, the assessments will help students gain a landlord’s compliance with health, safety and housing standards by ensuring they are providing information to tenants on what constitutes acceptable living conditions; generating work orders instructing landlords to fix anything that is below code; and gathering feedback from students on issues that are important to them using brief verbal questionnaires.
“We believe that renters have the right to a home that meets all health, safety and housing standards,” says Terry Willing, Director- Building & Licensing for the City.
Additional Queen’s and City of Kingston resource personnel will be available on the street and at the Queen’s Community Outreach Centre at 11 Aberdeen St. on the day of the assessment. Public Works and Solid Waste personnel from the City will offer recycling information and blue and grey boxes. Queen’s Town-Gown Relations staff will provide advice on tenant rights under the Residential Tenancies Act, and a representative from the KFLA Health Unit will assess danger if mold is encountered.
Participants will receive a goody bag and the satisfaction of knowing they are part of the solution.
For more information contact Joan Jones, Coordinator Town Gown Relations, 613 533-6745, firstname.lastname@example.org or Terry Willing, Director- Building & Licensing, 613 546-4291 ext. 3240, Twilling@cityofkingston.ca. Students can call 613-533-6745 for information about what Queens does to support students living off campus
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