A new regulatory framework for multi-tenant (rooming) houses came into effect as of March 31, 2024. Learn more about the new framework below.


The City defines a multi-tenant house, commonly known as a rooming house, as a building where four or more rooms are rented out to separate people. Tenants may share the kitchen and/or washroom but they do not live together as a single housekeeping unit. As of March 31, 2024, new rules are in place to ensure consistent standards and regulatory oversight to protect the safety of tenants and respond to neighbourhood concerns.

As part of the HousingTO Action Plan, the City is working to ensure Toronto is a place where families and individuals can live in safe, well-maintained and affordable housing with respect and dignity and where people have equal opportunities to succeed.

Having a diverse range of housing opportunities in all neighbourhoods in Toronto is critical to ensuring everyone has a safe place to call home. Multi-tenant houses provide homes to a diversity of Toronto residents in need including people earning low incomes and equity-deserving groups. Access to good quality, safe, affordable housing is an important social determinant of health and is the cornerstone of vibrant, inclusive neighbourhoods and complete communities.

The new regulatory framework aims to ensure multi-tenant houses in Toronto are safer and permit affordable housing options across the city. It supports complete communities by ensuring a range of housing opportunities for different incomes and needs.

Advantages of the new framework include:

  • Permitting multi-tenant houses across the city with consistent standards such as maximum number of rooms and parking requirements.
  • Introducing enhanced licensing requirements for multi-tenant house operators that promote health and safety for tenants.
  • Introducing new standards for multi-tenant houses, including personal care multi-tenant houses.
  • Putting in place an effective enforcement and compliance program, including a dedicated enforcement team, annual inspections, increased fines, a new Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal and other enforcement tools.
  • Adding a renovation program to provide funding and support to help preserve affordable multi-tenant houses and protect affordability for renters.
  • Rolling out comprehensive communications and engagement strategies, including educating owners, operators, tenants and communities about the new regulations and the resources available.

The framework is being implemented over a three-year period to gradually expand licensing and ensure supports are in place for operators and tenants. Preserving tenancies and preventing evictions is central to the City’s approach to implementation.

2024 – 2025

Licensing & Enforcement

All operators of multi-tenant houses are now required to obtain a licence and an online licence application system was launched. Learn more about the licensing requirements for operators.

To protect tenants and preserve affordable housing, the City will focus on bringing previously licensed operators into compliance as well as working with unlicensed operators. Staff will be providing ongoing guidance to operators and provide sufficient time for them to come into compliance with the new framework.

New operators will be given 12 months to comply with the new framework and will be supported in their efforts to gain compliance unless there are health and safety risks identified by staff.

Housing Affordability & Tenant Support

The City is developing a new Multi-Tenant Houses Renovation Program to preserve affordable multi-tenant houses and protect affordability for renters. The program provides grant funding and/or financial incentives (such as planning application and building permit fee waivers) to eligible property owners to address a broad range of costs directly related to improving safety and building conditions for tenants and bringing properties into compliance with the Zoning Bylaw, Ontario Building Code and Ontario Fire Code. More information will be provided when the program is launched in Spring 2024.

The City also has supports in place for tenants should they face evictions from a multi-tenant house or any other rental property. Learn more about the supports and resources available for tenants.

Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal

A new Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal with city-wide jurisdiction replaced the current Rooming House Commissioner in former Toronto. The new Tribunal is an independent quasi-judicial body with the authority to hear appeals of licensing decisions and referrals from City staff. Learn more about the new Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal.

Communications & Public Education

The City launched a campaign to educate tenants, multi-tenant house operators and owners and the general public about the new regulations. The campaign informs tenants about their rights, tenant safety and the resources and programs available to support tenants who may face evictions. Operators are being provided information on how to achieve compliance, information on their obligations to tenants and the supports that will be in place to help them continue to operate multi-tenant houses. The campaign is also creating awareness among Toronto residents on how the new regulations will help expand affordable housing options in the city , with enhanced maintenance requirements that help protect the safety of tenants and respond to neighbourhood concerns.

2025 – 2026

The City will continue transitioning existing licensed operators to the new framework and identifying unlicensed multi-tenant houses to be licensed.

Staff will also focus on outreach to new operators to apply for licences and on monitoring the impacts on housing affordability and tenants. Learn more about the staff report that outlines the complete framework and the Council decision.

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