Posted May 18, 2017
Tenants who sweated out last summer in hot apartments won’t get a much-desired bylaw limiting how high the thermostat can rise.
Toronto’s Board of Health adopted a staff report on Wednesday squashing the idea of setting a maximum temperature of 26 C for apartments and condos in the city.
Instead, it encouraged owners and developers to provide shared cool spaces.
The city’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa said staff decided against a bylaw because they worried it would have “unintended consequences,” such as increasing rent. “You don’t want to trade off one set of problems for another,” she said.
The idea was first floated in 2015 by Coun. Mary Fragedakis, who worried about the health of people living in sweltering apartments.
Kemba Robinson, a member of tenant advocacy group ACORN, called the decision “disappointing.”
Both she and her daughter are asthmatic, and her window air-conditioning unit “helps tremendously.” But she said it’s a luxury many tenants can’t afford. “If we don’t have air conditioning during the summer, we can’t breathe,” she said.
Toronto Public Health did consultations with both landlords and tenants before drafting the report, which said many of the city’s older apartment buildings lack proper insulation and ducts and are hard to keep cool even if window air-conditioner units are installed.
More air conditioners would also mean a bigger drain on energy and a larger environmental impact, said de Villa.
Article by May Warren for Metro News