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Landlords association proposes registry to address complaints

Chanda Lockhart, executive officer of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association, says a registry is being explored to address some of the concerns with rental properties.

Liam Richards / The StarPhoenix

The Saskatchewan Landlord Association is exploring a registry to address concerns about rental properties.

The association’s executive officer, Chanda Lockhart, appeared before a Saskatoon city council committee on Monday to express concerns about the possibility that the city might require landlords to acquire a licence.

Lockhart said she thought compliance with such a requirement would be minimal and instead proposed a landlord registry modelled on one in British Columbia.

The city’s planning, development and community services committee endorsed exploring the possibility of requiring a licence for landlords as one part of a strategy to reduce nuisance calls for emergency services.

“I think we need to work closely with some of these partners that are really close to this,” Mayor Charlie Clark said, noting some properties can generate 1,000 calls for emergency services in a year. He asked Lockhart for her suggestion for a solution.

Lockhart, who said her association represents 700 landlords — about half of them in Saskatoon — said the B.C. landlord registry is a voluntary initiative that requires landlords to take a two-hour online course and then score at least 80 per cent on a related quiz.

The registry attempts to ensure landlords know the law, and it provides a guide for renters, who can avoid landlords who do not belong to the registry.

Coun. Hilary Gough got support for her motion to pursue consultation with stakeholders, including groups that represent landlords and renters. Clark said a “sophisticated solution” is needed.

A City of Saskatoon report says licences for landlords represent one way to address nuisance calls. The other method would be to regulate nuisance calls by setting thresholds for excessive calls, which, once exceeded, would require the property owner to pay the cost of emergency services.

The report by city solicitor Patricia Warwick warns that both approaches present challenges.

“I definitely want us to approach this cautiously,” Coun. Zach Jeffries said.

ptank@postmedia.com

twitter.com/thinktankSK

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