06/17/2013 08:17 EDT | Updated 08/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Kitchener council to look at student housing rental standards

Kitchener city council will look at ways to improve student rental housing standards in the Lower Doon area near Conestoga College on Monday.

Ward 4 councillor Yvonne Fernandes says she is concerned about the safety of properties that house multiple students.

"There are a great number of landlords who live out of town and have no idea what the property standards are, what’s going on in these houses, the safety issues and it’s becoming quite a big problem," said Fernandes.

She said the landlords often live in other communities like Burlington, Toronto and Hamilton, or even out of the country, and aren’t checking in on their properties.

“The lawns aren’t being cut, the garbage isn’t being collected, the driveways aren’t being shoveled. Things are falling apart in the house and there’s nobody there to be on top of it,” said Fernandes.

Monday night, councillors will consider a staff report that offers alternatives to a residential licensing program. They would include enforcing the existing rules and developing a formal relationship with the Doon area’s landlord association.

The measures are meant to improve student housing and also deal with parking and property maintenance problems, that come along with large numbers of rental properties.

Fernandes says she's also worried about noise and garbage issues.

Staff are recommending increasing resources to enforce the current regulations instead of trying to implement a residential licensing program.

The Kitchener Fire Department estimates about 80 single detached dwellings are being used as student rental properties in the Lower Doon area.