What Is a Multi-Tenant House?

A multi-tenant house can include a house, apartment or building where you share a kitchen and/or washroom with four or more people that pay individual rent. It is an important part of the affordable rental housing market and provides single-room accommodation to diverse tenants including students, seniors, new immigrants and low/moderate income residents. Learn more about rooming houses and how they are regulated in Toronto.

To be invited to future meetings or for more information, contact mlsfeedback@toronto.ca


In 2014, a phased review of multi-tenant houses (commonly referred to as rooming houses) was launched. The first phrase of the review included extensive consultations that drew 1,500 participants from across the City with 559 people attending neighbourhood meetings and 127 tenants and stakeholders participated in focus group meetings. There was also 742 respondents to an online survey.

The consultation process informed a staff report that was submitted to Executive Committee on October 26, 2016. Recommendations included a proposed zoning and licensing strategy for further consultation.

In 2017, staff began the second phase of the multi-tenant houses review. The review sought public input on the pilot proposal and enhanced licensing requirements outlined in the October 2016 staff report. The review included public consultations in the proposed pilot areas and areas where multi-tenant houses are permitted.


On June 19, 2017, the Executive Committee requested that fraternity and sorority houses be considered as part of the Multi-Tenant Houses (Rooming Houses) review. As part of this review, staff will be conducting stakeholder consultations and a public meeting on this topic.

Currently, fraternity and sorority houses are not required to have a multi-tenant house operator’s license under Chapter 285, Rooming House By-law. Concerns have been raised about noise, garbage and other nuisance issues arising from fraternity and sorority houses. The aim of this review is to examine how these issues can be addressed and if fraternity and sorority houses should fall under the multi-tenant houses licensing requirements to help mitigate and address these issues.

Stakeholder and public consultation meetings were held in November 2017.

Public consultations for pilot areas concluded in June. The zoning strategy involves setting up five pilot areas where there is a concentration of multi-tenant houses that are not currently permitted. The licensing strategy includes new requirements to protect tenants and mitigate impacts on the neighbourhood.

We were looking for input on:

  • how multi-tenant houses should be zoned
  • maximum number of rooms allowed in a multi-tenant home
  • what requirements multi-tenant operators should have in place (site plan, waste management plan, parking plan, etc.)

Pilot areas

See ward maps.

  1. Highway 401, Morrish Road, Military Trail (Ward 43 & 44)
  2. Finch Avenue West, Martin Grove Road, Humber College Boulevard (Ward 1)
  3. Finch Avenue West, Assiniboine Road, Black Creek, Keele Street (Ward 8)
  4. Finch Avenue East, Leslie Street, Highway 404, Fairview Mall Drive (Ward 33)
  5. Steeles Avenue, Highway 404, Highway 401, Markham Road (Wards 39, 40,41)

Public consultations for the licensing strategy for multi-tenant houses in areas where they are permitted were held in 2017. The City was seeking feedback on new requirements on operators to help protect health and safety of tenants and mitigate neighbourhood impacts.

Proposed additional requirements include multi-tenant operators providing:

  • a property maintenance plan
  • site or floor plans
  • a waste management plan
  • a parking plan
  • written confirmation on the maximum number of tenants of the multi-tenant house

The following presentation was provided at public consultation meetings.

  • Consultations conducted by the City two years ago on multi-tenant houses, overwhelmingly showed that there were many issues in these areas, particularly in terms of enforcement and property standards.
  • There are many City policies which recognize the importance of multi-tenant housing:
    • City of Toronto Official Plan
    • Housing Opportunities Plan
    • Affordable Housing Action Plan
  • Tenants can include students, seniors on fixed incomes, etc. whose incomes only allow them to afford rents offered in multi-tenant housing
    The City has put together a zoning and licensing proposal to better regulate these houses.