When you go to a restaurant, only some may pay attention to the A, B, C, or below rating posted at the entrance. The restaurant was rated on cleanliness of the kitchen and other sanitary measures, and the grade signals to potential customers that it's a safe place to eat--or not. So, what if there was a similar system for apartment renters?

Fast Company writer Jessica Leber reports on an initiative in Toronto seeking to give landlords a licensing and rating system. The city's plan plan would involve regular inspections of all apartment buildings with more than 10 units and two floors to make sure that the buildings were being kept up properly.

The measure, which still has to be passed by the city council, is being pushed by tenant advocacy groups like ACORN and, unsurprisingly, is opposed by apartment building owners. The building owners say it is a poor use of city resources. The city estimates the program would cost landlords $12 to $15 per unit every year, which would go toward the $3.5 million costs of operating the program.

The city follows others in the world, including Philadelphia and London, that already have similar systems.

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