Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough wants to take on landlords who don't do their jobs properly.
It's proposing a fund to pay for repairs deemed to be urgent in rental units.
"There are conditions and circumstances where we need the capacity to intervene urgently and quickly and in a timely fashion, when the health and the safety of tenants is imperiled," said borough mayor Russell Copeman.
The borough is taking $250,000 from its budget surplus to pay for emergency repairs, such as replacing a lock on a front door or repairing a heating system in the dead of winter.
Once the repairs are done, the borough would recover the money from the building owner in court or place a lien on the building in question.
The borough is home to several ageing rental buildings, especially in the Darlington district, that are in need of repair.
"There's a certain concentration of buildings that were built post war, in the 1950s. The quality of the initial construction is debatable," said Copeman. "And there's been deferred maintenance that hasn't been done."
In the coming months, the borough's permits and inspections department will develop the criteria to be able to intervene and carry out a repair. Copeman hopes to have that done by the annual July 1 moving day.
The borough is the first on the island of Montreal to implement such a fund.
The proposal will be presented to borough council for its approval on April 3.