A Regina neighbourhood group wants authorities to crack down on substandard housing by requiring that all rental units be inspected and licensed before they are put up for rent.

Community leaders in Regina's north-central area hope that will help fight a critical slum housing problem.


Linda Otway says there have been a number of plumbing problems at her north-central area rental home. ((John Weidlich/CBC))

They're concerned about people like renter Linda Otway, who pays $400 for a tiny, one-bedroom home in north-central, a neighbourhood that Maclean's Magazine once called the worst in Canada.

It's difficult to live in a house where the roof leaks and there are constant problems with the plumbing, Otway said.

"The toilet had been leaking raw sewage into the basement for over a year and I'd been complaining, all year, about that," she said. "I would get the promises that they would fix it, but they never did."

Community leaders like Rob Deglau, who works for the North Central Community Association, say there are thousands of cases of people living in homes that need major repairs or should be torn down altogether.


Rob Deglau says more needs to be done to protect tenants from substandard housing. ((John Weidlich/CBC))

One solution would be to require landlords to license each one of their rental units with annual inspections — although it would represent a major change, said Deglau.

"What we're opening up is a huge can of worms, and we know it," he said. "We're going to a very wealthy industry, an industry that's never been regulated before and we're saying, 'Guess what? If you guys want to play, you need to regulate, you need to have minimum standards.'"

A report done for the North Central Community Association suggests a fee of $25 to $75 for each licence.

In Regina, that would generate up to $2 million, money that community leaders say could be spent enforcing regulations and programs to help landlords maintain quality homes.