Karen Matthews, representing a Thibeault Terrace homeowners group, addressed North Bay City Council with a plea for more stringent regulations when it comes to student rental units.
Matthews says that a $300 fee good for two years with no inspections is a pittance for an owner collecting thousands in rent each month. She points to agreements in place between rental property owners and the municipal government in Waterloo that require yearly fees and various inspections and certificates for the properties, including electrical, parking plans, and proof of ownership.
Matthews says that the once quiet neighbourhood, previously exclusively occupied by couples and families, has been overrun by students with little regard for their neighbours’ properties or sanity. Those students, she says, rent from absentee slumlords, who are happy to pay the nominal fee to the City of North Bay to operate but then have little to do with their properties other than to collect rent payments.
Matthews says that student rental properties in Thibeault Terrace are no longer properly maintained, occupancy has increased to the point where seven or eight people live under one roof in houses with only two or three bedrooms, and parking is a nightmare. She says that some front lawns have been converted into virtual parking lots and she has even noticed tenants using backyards for parking spaces.
Not to mention the noise. Matthews says that the noise on some nights is “astounding,” and complaints to landlords and owners are near impossible because many of the property dealings have been completed anonymously.
Property values have dipped, and Matthews says her own parents, who have lived in the area for 33 years are considering moving.
After the presentation, Mayor Al McDonald announced that the current rental by-law is being challenged in court, so councillors were unable to ask questions of Matthews or Colin Thacker, who also presented on behalf of the group.