Apartment buildings need to have high cleanliness standards to ensure that residents are safe.

Even with a vaccine rollout that has resulted in 15 percent of Canadians being fully immunized as of June 5, the pandemic will continue to be a part of daily life for the foreseeable future.

So it’s still very important to set the highest possible standards for apartment-building cleanliness — and make sure they’re strictly enforced.

At Alto Properties’ 859 Kennedy Road, residents can feel safe knowing that their apartment building received a top score from the Rent Safe Toronto program (RentSafeTO).

Anthony Liscio, the vice president of Alto Properties, said the city has taken the correct view on this issue, and agreed with Toronto’s decision to expand the requirements of the RentSafeTO program to ensure compliance with pandemic-related rules to prevent the spread of the virus.

“I’m proud to say that 859 Kennedy Road not only passed the city’s inspection, but was also placed in the top category for quality control,” Liscio said.

RentSafeTO, first approved by the Toronto City Council in 2017, is a “bylaw enforcement program that ensures apartment building owners comply with building maintenance standards.”

The program looks at apartment buildings with at least three storeys and more than 10 units. The inspection system, which involves multiple tiers, judges many different categories of cleanliness and maintenance to arrive at an overall score that determines how soon the building will need another inspection.

Buildings that receive a score between 86 and 100 percent are in the top tier. Any score in that category means the apartment building doesn’t need another evaluation for three years.

“Because of the hard work of Alto Properties, our apartment building, 859 Kennedy Road, received an inspection score of 87 percent,” Liscio said of the building’s inspection report, released January 2021.

RentSafeTO has other tiers as well. For buildings that score 85 percent or less, the city requires another re-evaluation within two years. For buildings that score 66 percent or less, the evaluation recurs within one year. For buildings that score 50 percent or less, the city will conduct an audit.

RentSafeTO inspections have many different aspects of health and safety that they look at, including guardrails, maintenance, proper disposal of garbage, clean floors and ceilings, exterior walkways, a lack of graffiti, security, elevators, water issues, and many others. Each aspect is scored between 1 and 5.

“859 Kennedy Road did not receive a score lower than 4 in a single category,” Liscio said. “All of us at Alto Properties feel pretty good about that.”

Although the RentSafeTO program had existed for several years before the pandemic, the city added additional safety protocols for reducing the spread of Covid-19.

In 2019, the Toronto City Council raised apartment building standards, unanimously voting to expand RentSafeTO and requiring more from landlords to make sure that residents are safe and the buildings are up to code.

Those changes include:

  • Requiring landlords to give notice of RentSafeTO visits on notification boards at least 30 days prior to building audits with appropriate contact information for staff.
  • Requiring landlords to post information on the tenant notification board about air-conditioned spaces in the building to include information about other places on the property that offer relief from uncomfortably warm indoor temperatures.

The RentSafeTO program doesn’t include the inspection of condos, townhomes, or rooms in a private home. For any Toronto residents experiencing issues in those kinds of rentals, the City of Toronto requests that you please consult with your landlord first.