A new online database listing rental buildings with bylaw violations was launched by the City of Vancouver today (February 6).
According to Vision Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson, the searchable site is aimed at helping Vancouver residents make decisions about where to rent, and encouraging landlords to keep their properties in good condition.
Stevenson, who introduced a motion calling for the database in January 2012, said the site makes information accessible that was previously only available through separate departments.
"Previously everybody really was in the dark," Stevenson said in a phone interview. "You wouldn’t know what your landlord was like, or what the building was like, and if you had it in you to begin to try and track down all the various departments, you’d have to be a detective really…now this is readily at their fingertips."
The site, referred to by the city as the rental standards database, includes all licensed rental buildings with five or more residential units that have outstanding infractions, or those with bylaw issues that have been resolved within the last year.
Database users can view a map of the listings around the city, or can search the site by building address or properties with open violations. Types of bylaw infractions listed include issues related to standards of maintenance, fire safety, building safety, and untidy premises.
The five buildings with the highest number of bylaw infractions currently listed in the database are single-room-occupancy hotels in the Downtown Eastside.
Stevenson said the city has seen an increased level of compliance after giving notice to property owners over recent months that their buildings would be listed in the database.
“As people realized this is going up, many many people came into compliance,” he said.
The database currently features 70,000 units in about 2,500 rental buildings, including single-room occupancy hotels, purpose-built rental buildings, and supportive housing units. Three hundred of the buildings currently included in the database have unresolved health and safety issues.
The site does not include information on properties including single family homes, secondary suites, duplexes, and condo buildings.