A community group's proposal to help protect vulnerable rooming house renters is expected to head to Winnipeg city council this month.
The North Point Douglas Residents' Committee is proposing annual inspections of rooming houses in Winnipeg based on the city's livability bylaw.
- Rooming house fire sends 1 to hospital, forces 8 others from home
- Illegal rooming house owner fined two years after deadly fire
- Loss of 'essential' rooming houses a problem in Winnipeg: advocate
"Some of the poorest and weakest people in our community are living in these rooming houses," said committee chair Sel Burrows. "They, on the whole, find it very difficult to speak up for themselves, so we as a responsible committee felt we needed to be their voice."
Burrows said he's sure there are rooming house renters in his area living without locks on their doors and living with dirty toilets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
"To you and I this sounds like 'What? You have to put that in a bylaw?' Absolutely," he said.
Rooming house renters are afraid to complain out of fear they will be evicted, Burrows said.
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie is expected to bring the proposal to city council, likely later this month.
"Being proactive will allow people to live there and because it's just a scheduled, annual inspection, for the landlords who aren't really taking care, they're going to start doing that," he said.
The city inspects rooming houses according to the livability bylaw if someone files a complaint. Rooming houses also receive fire code inspections, but Eadie said inspectors don't look for things in the livability bylaw, such as the condition of the floors and walls.
Burrows said the committee wants to tackle registered rooming houses first then come up with a different plan to deal with illegal rooming houses.
"We strongly support having rooming houses in our community, but we want the people who live there to have decent housing," he said. "The landlords, even the good ones, need to be reminded at least once a year what the rules are, what conditions they have to have for the people living in the rooming houses."
The city would have to decide where it will get the resources to carry out the inspections, Eadie said.