Multi-tenant houses, commonly known as rooming houses, are only permitted in certain parts of Toronto where zoning permits. Where required, you must have a licence to operate multi-tenant houses.

Multi-tenant houses

  • Former City of Toronto: multi-tenant houses are permitted and need to be licenced, according to the Rooming Houses bylaw. Multi-tenant houses are licenced by the Municipal Licensing and Standards division. Information on applying for licences in the former City of Toronto is outlined below.
  • Former City of York: multi-tenant houses are permitted but do not need to be licenced
  • Former Cities of East York, North York, Scarborough: multi-tenant houses are not permitted

Once a multi-tenant house licence has been issued to you, you cannot use your multi-tenant house for other purposes and you must comply with the terms of your licence, City bylaws and all other applicable law.

Lodging houses

Licenced multi-tenant houses

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Step 1: Confirm that your area is zoned for multi-tenant houses

In the former City of Toronto, contact Toronto Building to confirm that your area is zoned for multi-tenant houses. Call 416-397-5330, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Step 2: Identify the licence fee for your house

In the former City of Toronto, the licence fee ranges from $100 to $300.

The fee is $100 if:

  • the owner of the property occupies living space of 30 square metres or less as their personal residence
  • the house is operated by a non-profit corporation or
  • the house has up to three storeys (not including the basement) and contains up to 14 bedrooms, with fewer than five bedrooms on the third storey

If none of the above conditions apply, then the fee is $200 if:

  • the house has up to three storeys (not including the basement) and contains up to 14 bedrooms, with five or more bedrooms on the third storey or
  • the house has up to three storeys (not including the basement) and more than 14 bedrooms

The fee is $300 if the multi-tenant house has more than three storeys (not including the basement).

Step 3: Submit an application

Only completed applications will be accepted and you must include:

  • the completed application form
  • the licence fee, paid with a certified cheque or money order and made payable to Treasurer, City of Toronto and
  • a floor plan for the multi-tenant house, where requested

You must submit the application form along with the licence fee to MultiTenantHousing@toronto.ca.

Step 4: City inspections after application submission

After you apply for a multi-tenant licence, the City will conduct inspections and indicate that the multi-tenant house complies with:

New applications for multi-tenant house licences are circulated to the local Councillor, who is also informed when a licence is issued in their ward.

Note: Multi-tenant house licences are not transferable. A new multi-tenant house licence application must be submitted before you sell or transfer your property or business.

Multi-tenant houses must be operated according to Rooming Houses bylaw. You must:

  • designate an agent who will be contacted in emergencies or with any inquiries about the operation of the multi-tenant house
  • post the following information for tenants at the entrance of the multi-tenant house:
    • the multi-tenant house licence
    • the name and contact details of the owner and agent
    • the fire safety plan and
    • details of any conditions on which the licence was granted
  • allow inspections to ensure compliance with applicable bylaws and legislation
  • allow the City to provide notices to tenants
  • maintain the multi-tenant house in accordance with all applicable bylaws and legislation
  • notify Municipal Licensing & Standards Division of any change in ownership or any change in the contact information of the owner and agent

Download the Multi-Tenant (Rooming) Houses: Owner Guide for more information on the operating requirements, property standards and occupancy standards. This guide is for multi-tenant houses in the former City of Toronto.

Ontario Fire Code Regulated Houses

In the Ontario Fire Code, multi-tenant (rooming) houses are defined as houses or dwelling units where more than four individuals separately rent out sleeping rooms or lodge rooms, and share kitchen and/or washrooms. Learn more about further requirements found under Section 9.3 of the Ontario Fire Code.

Penalties and offences

If you do not comply with the bylaw, you are guilty of an offence and, on conviction, may be fined a maximum of $5,000.  Violations of other bylaws or legislation may also result in different offences and penalties.

Personal care multi-tenant houses are where meals and services are provided to residents to care for their personal needs and health. Personal care multi-tenant houses must meet certain operating requirements and occupancy standards, such as staffing, meal plans, sanitary conditions, prescription management and more.

Download the Multi-Tenant (Rooming) Houses: Owner Guide for more information on the operating requirements and occupancy standards for personal care multi-tenant houses. This guide is for multi-tenant houses in the former City of Toronto.

A renewal notice will be sent to you about three months in advance of the renewal date. The licence renewal application follows the same process as an initial application. A licence can be refused, revoked or suspended if an owner:

  • fails to comply with the bylaws or applicable law
  • denies the City’s entry and inspections or
  • fails to manage the property with proper management, honesty, and integrity or in accordance with the conditions attached to their licence

About the Commission

The Multi-Tenant (Rooming) House Licensing Commission is an independent quasi-judicial body consisting of a Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner chosen by the City of Toronto Council for a four-year term. It is governed by the Rooming Houses bylaw and has jurisdiction within the former City of Toronto. The Commission receives administrative support from the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division at the City of Toronto.

The Commission has the authority to:

  • approve or refuse a new application for a licence
  • approve or refuse the renewal of a licence
  • place conditions on a licence
  • suspend or revoke a licence

Hearings

The Commission holds hearings to make decisions on matters related to refusing, revoking, suspending, or placing conditions on a licence. The hearing is an opportunity for City staff and for you to present evidence to the Commissioner, who then issues a decision on the status of the licence.

Your licence can be refused, revoked or suspended if you:

  • fail to comply with the bylaws or applicable law
  • deny the City’s entry and inspections or
  • fail to manage the property with proper management, honesty, and integrity or in accordance with the conditions attached to your licence

What to expect at a hearing

The Commission will provide you with a Notice of Hearing, which will include the reason for the hearing, and the time and place of the hearing. If you do not attend the hearing, the Commissioner may proceed in your absence.

Who attends hearings

You or your representative if you have one, and City representatives attend the hearings. The public and member of the media may also attend these public hearings.

At the hearing, both you and the City are able to provide statements and evidence.

In the decision, the Commissioner will consider:

  • whether your multi-tenant house complies with applicable law
  • whether a City inspector has been refused entry or unable to inspect your multi-tenant house
  • your past conduct and if your multi-tenant house will likely be operated in accordance with applicable law, with proper management, honesty and integrity
  • whether you are in contravention of any condition attached to your licence and
  • previous offences and complaints

How to prepare for a hearing

The Commission will send you a Notice of Hearing and a copy of the report. You are encouraged to read this report, which contains the facts and sections of the bylaw upon which City staff intend to rely on at the hearing.

At the hearing, you have the opportunity to explain why your should be issued or permitted to retain you licence. You may provide evidence, bring witnesses who have knowledge of relevant facts, and submit relevant documents.

Note: Any information submitted before the Commission forms part of the Commission record and is subject to public disclosure.

For more information, contact Shanta Persaud at 416-392-7594 and Shanta.Persaud@toronto.ca.

A lodging house is where three or more people rent rooms, with or without shared kitchen facilities. The tenants may pay rent individually.

According to the Lodging Houses bylaw, lodging houses are permitted in certain parts of the  former City of Etobicoke and required to be licensed by Toronto Public Health.

New applicants must contact the Etobicoke York Toronto Building office to confirm the area is zoned for lodging houses. After confirmation that the area is zoned for rooming houses, contact the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division, which will refer you to Toronto Public Health to apply for a lodging house licence.

You must review the Lodging Houses bylaw to determine whether you are applying for a Class A or Class B licence.