The City of Toronto licenses multi-tenant (rooming) houses to ensure that they are safe and well-maintained. These houses are permitted in the former City of Toronto and some parts of Etobicoke and York.
Municipal Licensing and Standards is currently undertaking a review on options to improve the licensing and regulation of multi-tenant houses, including the rooming house hearing process. City Planning anticipates bringing forward a report on beginning the process (including public consultations) to establish city-wide zoning permissions for multi-tenant houses in the fall of 2020.
The City of Toronto held a public consultation on August 2019 to get feedback on the licensing regulations currently being reviewed by Municipal Licensing and Standards. View a copy of the presentation and discussion boards.
Feedback will be used to inform an interim report going to the Planning and Housing Committee later in 2020.
A multi-tenant (rooming) house is where people rent a room and share a kitchen and/or washroom with four or more people who also rent rooms. The tenants may pay rent individually.
Multi-tenant houses are 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.
Municipal Licensing and Standards (ML&S) and City Planning began a review of multi-tenant houses in 2014. As part of the review, feedback was collected from more than 1,500 members of the public and key stakeholder groups. This feedback was used to inform a joint staff report from ML&S and City Planning, which included a proposed zoning, licensing and enforcement strategy for multi-tenant houses that was adopted by Executive Committee in October 2016. Staff were directed to consult on the strategy and report back to Committee in 2017.
Consultations took place over the summer of 2017. ML&S and City Planning hosted public consultation in areas where multi-tenant houses are permitted, as well as in five proposed pilot areas where multi-tenant houses are not permitted. Feedback was also collected through focus groups, stakeholder meetings and an online survey.
There are currently a number of housing-related studies and initiatives underway that involve various divisions across the City of Toronto, including City Planning. The work undertaken by ML&S is being integrated into the work of the other divisions.
This current review responds to Council directives to look at options to improve the licensing and regulation of multi-tenant houses, including the rooming house hearing process.
Feedback will be used to inform a report going to the Planning and Housing Committee in 2020.
In May 2018, City Council removed the licensing exemption for student registered fraternity and sorority houses, so that they may be required to be licensed, as set out in Chapter 285.