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Prince George councillor says there's no easy to fix to make sure renters are safe

Close to 100 Prince George residents were displaced by an apartment fire earlier this month. No cause has been determined, but some have expressed concerns about how the building was maintained. CBC contacted the Residential Tenancy Branch about the building, and in an email they replied:

"· The Residential Tenancy Act requires landlords maintain a rental property in a state that is suitable for occupancy - and meets all health, safety and building standards required by law. · However, the province has no jurisdiction to force property owners to fix-up their buildings - that responsibility lies with local government.
· Municipalities establish standards of maintenance that are enforced through the local government's own by-law enforcement procedures.
· We can't comment on who applied to RTB, but we can tell you that a dispute was heard and RTB ordered repairs to be made to the building and provided monetary compensation to the tenant applicant.
· There was no further application, so we don't know if the landlord complied with the repairs. Again, enforcement of safety codes is the responsibility of local by-law enforcement officers."

Earlier this week, Daybreak spoke with Tom Durning of the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre. That organization strongly encourages municipalities to have a Standards of Maintenance Bylaw to help make sure landlords keep their buildings in good repair. From their site:

"Municipal Standards of Maintenance (SoM) Bylaws allow local government to force landlords to keep their rental buildings in good repair. Although not all municipalities have SoM bylaws, TRAC strongly encourages all municipalities to not only pass these bylaws but strictly enforce them."

Prince George, however, has no such bylaw. Murry Krause is a city councillor who's been looking into this issue. He says while there is a need to provide  renters, especially those with low-incomes, with safe and secure rental units, there's no silver bullet to fix the problem. He joined Betsy Trumpener in studio:


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