Rooming houses generating high number of service calls

By Nathan Bragg

New statistics released to city council show Ottawa’s rooming houses are generating a high number of service requests in recent years.

These numbers come after the Somerset and Centretown community health centres issued a report in November on the state of rooming houses in the city.

Rooming houses are buildings with multiple rooms that are rented out individually to tenants with either a shared kitchen or living space, or both. The city gives out licences to landlords on an annual basis.

There are currently 91 licensed rooming houses in Ottawa and four pending applications, according to the city.

Between 2012 and 2015 there were a total of 5,671 service calls. Last year, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 1, there were 970 service calls.

Most of these requests have come from community services staff following visits and inspections at the rooming houses, rather than complaints from tenants.

Requests can cover a range of issues, including access to social services, fire safety and health issues such as mould or rodent infestation.

The health centres’ report included recommendations that the city do a better job enforcing licensing standards and develop a system to track and monitor complaints to ensure that landlords are following provincial rental laws.