Abandoned properties bylaws need to change: city staff

The city is looking to change bylaws affecting derelict and abandoned properties including the possibility of forced demolition.

Many residents are outraged by the negative effect nearby derelict properties have on their homes

Toronto looks to tighten bylaws governing derelict properties 2:05

The city is looking to change bylaws affecting derelict and abandoned properties, including the possibility of forced demolition.

If boarded up properties have a secured entrance and maintained, cut grass, current bylaws don’t give the city much power to force owners to fix or tear down abandoned properties which is draining resources and angering many Toronto residents.

Toronto homeowner Natasha Priest is among many angered by a lack of control over often-neglected spots, which can affect their own properties.

Priest lives in a semidetached home in the King and Dufferin Streets area. For years she has complained about problems — like vagrants and rodents. Her home is suffering as a result of the abandoned home next door, she says.

"We’ve got broken windows there, squirrels living in there, there are raccoons living in there," she said.

"We got home Monday morning and apparently Sunday evening there had been someone that actually broke into the home. He turned on the water or broke a pipe, ripped the bell cables out of our house."

City inspectors visited the rundown building many times following numerous complaints, but not much can be done until current bylaws are changed.

Mark Sraga, director of investigations with municipal licensing and standards, says the city is considering changes to property bylaws that would give them more power and even the ability to force demolition.

"It’s enough of a problem that we feel we need to take further action," Sraga said.

The bylaw amendments will be drafted in the next year after which council will vote on whether to approve them.