Mayoral candidate Josh Matlow released another part of his housing platform on Thursday, calling for the creation of a "Fraud Squad" that would go after illegal evictions.

Part of his Tenant Support program, the Fraud Squad would investigate renovictions and own-use evictions to determine whether they were carried out lawfully. For the former, a dedicated building permits team would investigate whether landlords had filed an eviction application with the Landlord and Tenant Board before ever receiving permits for the building work or renovations they plan to carry out.

The squad would also enforce the Residential Tenancies Act at the city level, with the current City Councillor noting that "the Province only has three inspectors in all of the GTA." In instances of suspected landlord fraud, the squad would request police investigations.

“Bad landlords have been let off the hook for too long. It’s past time the City used its resources to crack down on fraudulent evictions and property standards violations, such as pests and mould,” Matlow said. “I will fight to ensure that every renter has a safe, clean and healthy home.”  

In that same vein, Matlow is calling for an increase in funding for the Toronto Tenant Support Program to help tenants hire paralegals and fight fraudulent evictions. He is also looking to establish rent control for all units that receive any City funding, and says he will advocate for the Province to bring back rent control for all tenants.

READ: Ontario Investing $6.5M to Hire More Landlord and Tenant Board Staff, Tackle ‘Renovictions’

Taking aim at tenant safety, Matlow says he will introduce colour-coded RentSafe signs, similar to the City’s DineSafe program, to "provide landlords with an incentive to make necessary repairs." He also plans to enact a maximum temperature by-law of 26° C in apartment units and to allow windows in high-rises to open more than 10 cm.

For landlords who violate property standards, including not making appliance repairs and not carrying out pest control, Matlow wants to increase the allowable fines, but did not say by how much. He's also looking to implement a standard for the amount of time between a work order being issued and a fine being levied for non-compliance, citing two days to fix or replace a broken fridge and 10 days to repair a railing as examples.

Earlier this week, Matlow proposed the creation of a new City agency, dubbed Public Build Toronto, that would redevelop City-owned lands into housing. This housing would be directly developed by the City at cost, he said, removing developer profits from the equation. The City owns 25M sq. ft of public land that can be redeveloped, enough to build 100,000 new homes, Matlow said, including Green P and TTC parking lots.