Licensed Rooming Houses & Bachelorettes
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Chapter 285 - Rooming Houses
Chapter 285 Rooming Houses, Toronto Municipal Code, provides a definition for the term and compliance standards for property owners to meet. The chapter defines a rooming house as:
A building that contains dwelling rooms and may also contain one (1) or more dwelling units, where:
The Rooming House Chapter states that no person shall use, permit to be used, rent or offer to rent any rooming house unless a rooming house licence is in force. The Chapter also states that no person shall use a licenced rooming house except for any purpose for which the licence was issued.
- The dwelling rooms, in total, are used or designated or intended for use as living accommodation by more than three (3) persons; and
- The living accommodation is provided in exchange for remuneration.
The administration and enforcement of Chapter 285, in the former City of Toronto, falls under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division.
The Investigation Services team enforces the provisions of Chapter 285 with respect to the issuance, suspension, renewal or revocation of a rooming house licence. This includes the imposition of conditions on the licence as the circumstances require.
Rooming houses are only legal in the former City of Toronto. In the former City of Etobicoke, there are licensed lodging houses which are licensed by Toronto Public Health. In the former Cities of North York and Scarborough, rooming houses are illegal.
If you believe that there is an illegal rooming house in your neighbourhood, please contact your District Office and an Officer will investigate the complaint.
Parkdale (the area bounded by Lake Shore Boulevard, Dufferin Street, the rail lines, Dundas Street and Roncesvalles Avneue) is a dense, inner-city neighbourhood that contains many types of housing.
In the late 1970's and early 1980's many of the large houses in South Parkdale that had been converted to rooming houses were renovated to add kitchen facilities to the rooms to create self-contained units. Most of these units were, prior to the addition of kitchen facilities, in conformity with approved standards for rooming houses. The conversion to small self-contained units was frequently completed without a building permit and in many cases were unable to meet the Zoning By-law requirements. The construction of new rooming houses was prohibited in South Parkdale in 1978.
In October 1998, Toronto Community Council held a public meeting to consider a report that included the following recommendations:
In October, 1999, Toronto Community Council considered a report entitled, "Parkdale Conflict Resolution Process".
- The creation of a conflict resolution process to achieve consensus on the appropriate approach the City should take to the existing bachelorettes and illegal rooming houses in South Parkdale;
- The Zoning by-law 438-86 be further amended so as to limit the creation of units or rooms, through conversion or new construction, to three per lot.
The report outlined an approach for regularizing small units which have existed for a number of years and improving and enforcing standards for safe, good quality housing in Parkdale.
Staff recommended a 19-point strategy for dealing with bachelorette units, consisting of, but not limited to:
- The establishment of a Parkdale Housing Committee
- The creation of a Pilot Project Group
- Development standards for pre-1978 buildings
- Development standards for post-1978 buildings
- Site specific by-law
- Minimizing the impact of tenant disruption and resettlement
- Zoning standards
City Council subsequently endorsed the creation of a conflict resolution process and the appointment of a facilitator acceptable to all groups. All of the participants in the conflict resolution process supported a wide variety f housing forms for singles and families and, in particular, affordable housing.