On the heels of an especially hot and dry summer for Greater Victoria, the Town of View Royal is exploring introducing regulations that would set minimum and maximum temperatures for rental units in the community.
At the Sept. 5 council meeting, Coun. Don Brown made a motion to direct staff to explore introducing a new bylaw to essentially require rental units to provide adequate heating and cooling for their occupants. The motion was unanimously supported by council.
“I think it is timely with climate change and the extreme heat we have been getting,” said Brown. “It would be nice to have a range so tenants don’t have to suffer, and some landlords have been opposed to tenants putting in air conditioning units. Some of them have a good reason, while others don’t.”
Brown said he envisions this potential regulation to work through a complaint process, rather than through a proactive enforcement process.
“If a tenant all of a sudden finds it’s 28, 29 degrees inside their home and they try to get an air conditioner and the landlord says no, that’s when it would kick in,” he said. “There are a lot of people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly people that would appreciate it I’m sure.”
Mayor Sid Tobias said he too thinks exploring such regulations is timely for the community as the number of renters is expected to grow in the coming years.
Staff will primarily look at what similar regulations other municipalities in the province have on temperature control in rental units according to the direction.
The City of Victoria’s Rental Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw does mandate a unit be equipped with a heating system capable of maintaining a minimum temperature of 21 C, but does not include a requirement for cooling systems.
The City of Mississauga, Ont. is one municipality in Canada that also sets a high-temperature limit, requiring all rental units in the municipality to provide “adequate and sufficient cooling” to maintain the unit at a temperature no higher than 26 C.