City hall exploring ways to help tenants beat the heat

Tenants struggling with heat in their apartments during unseasonably warm weather may get some relief in the form of a municipal bylaw change.

At the July meeting of council – which took place during a heatwave — councillors asked staff to look into altering a bylaw that requires landlords to turn on the heat in rental units from Sept. 1 through to June 1.

St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow said the complaints he received from local tenants during a particularly warm May prompted him to put forth the motion asking staff to look into a bylaw change, as well as alternative options to cool down rental housing units.
Matlow’s Ward 22 has the highest number of tenants, many of whom live in older, highrise buildings.

“They were telling me that they were boiling in the buildings,” he said of the callers. “They would go to the landlords and ask them to turn the heat off. The landlords would say they couldn’t because there’s a city policy directing them to keep the temperature up at 70 degrees (21C).”

Staff was asked to look into a bylaw change that reflects unseasonable temperatures before June 2, and consult with landlords and tenants’ organizations regarding a maximum allowable room temperature in rental housing units.