Starting March 31, 2024, operators of multi-tenant (rooming) houses will be required to obtain a licence. Until then, the current regulations for multi-tenant houses apply. Learn about the new rules below and apply to become a member of the new Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal.


A multi-tenant house is a building with four or more rooms that may have shared common washroom and kitchen. These rooms may also have private washroom or kitchen, but not both.

On December 14, 2022, Toronto City Council adopted a new regulatory framework for multi-tenant houses. The Zoning Bylaw was amended to permit multi-tenant houses across all of Toronto and a new Multi-Tenant Houses Licensing Bylaw was also adopted. This new bylaw will introduce consistent standards, regulatory oversight and effective enforcement to protect the safety of tenants and respond to neighbourhood concerns. 

Currently multi-tenant houses are not permitted in some areas of the city. The new regulatory framework will help ensure multi-tenant houses in Toronto are safer and permit affordable housing options across the city. It will also help support complete communities with a range of housing opportunities for different incomes and needs.

The new framework will:

  • Permit multi-tenant houses across the city and set standards such as maximum number of rooms and parking requirements: Multi-tenant houses with up to six dwelling rooms will be allowed in all neighbourhoods. Depending on the location and the zoning, multi-tenant houses may have up to 12 or 25 rooms in the former cities of Toronto, East York and York.
  • Introduce enhanced licensing requirements for multi-tenant house operators that promote health and safety and new standards for personal care multi-tenant houses: Under the new rules, operators will be required to develop property maintenance plans, including processes for tenant service requests, pest management and waste management and collection, to help improve property maintenance standards and ensure that tenant requests are addressed in a timely fashion. Operators will also need to comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
  • Put in place an effective enforcement and compliance program: This will include a dedicated enforcement team, annual inspections, increased fines, a new Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal and other enforcement tools.
  • Preserve affordable housing and support tenants: This will include developing a multi-tenant house retrofit and repair program to preserve affordable multi-tenant houses. The City will also ensure supports are in place for tenants should they face evictions from a multi-tenant house or require emergency relocation.
  • Roll out comprehensive communications and engagement strategies: This will include educating owners, operators, tenants and communities about the new regulations and the resources available to them as the new framework comes into effect.

Location of permitted multi-tenant houses

The new framework will allow multi-tenant houses in all zones that permit residential uses. Multi-tenant houses can be built specifically for this use, or they can be converted from an existing residential house, as long as they comply with the standards for each zone and the specific use regulations.

Maximum number of rooms in multi-tenant houses

In the former cities of Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough, the maximum number of rooms permitted in a multi-tenant house is six.

In the former cities of Toronto, East York and York, the maximum number of rooms in a multi-tenant house depends on where the building is located:

  • Six rooms are permitted in low-density residential zones—the Residential Detached (RD), Residential Semi-Detached (RS), Residential Townhouse (RT) and most Residential Multiple (RM) zones.
  • Six or 12 rooms are permitted in the Residential (R) zone, depending on location. Properties located in the former city of Toronto will see no change to the maximum number of rooms.
  • 12 rooms are permitted in higher density residential zones—the Residential Apartment (RA), Residential Apartment Commercial (RAC) and some Residential Multiple (RM) zones.
  • 25 rooms are permitted in mixed use zones—the Commercial Residential (CR) and Commercial Residential Employment (CRE) zones.

The following map shows the maximum number of rooms that will be permitted in multi-tenant houses in Toronto, effective March 31, 2024.

Map of the City of Toronto showing the areas where multi-tenant houses will be permitted effective March 31, 2024, and identifying the permitted maximum number of 6, 12 or 25 dwelling rooms in a multi-tenant house in these areas. Within the boundaries of the former cities of Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough, the maximum number of rooms permitted in a multi-tenant house is six. Within the former cities of Toronto, East York and York, the maximum number of dwelling rooms in a multi-tenant house depends on its location and zoning.

Minimum room size

The minimum room size is regulated by the Ontario Building Code.

Parking requirements

The parking requirements under the new zoning bylaw for multi-tenant houses are based on transit access.

  • For areas well-served by transit and the former city of Toronto, no parking spaces will be required for a multi-tenant house.
  • For all other areas, a multi-tenant house with six rooms will require at least two parking spaces (the calculation is 0.34 spaces for each room).

These are minimum requirements and more parking spaces could be provided if desired by the operator.

The framework will be 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 will be central to the City’s approach to implementation. The City has made progress preparing for the implementation of the new framework.

Licensing and enforcement strategy

An online licence application system for operators of multi-tenant houses will be launched when the new bylaw comes into effect.

A comprehensive engagement plan has been developed for operators that includes hosting information sessions and providing guidelines, which will include multi-lingual resources. More details on the information sessions, application guidelines and a Good Operator Guide will be provided in early 2024.

To protect tenants and preserve affordable housing, the City will work collaboratively with operators to bring them into the new licensing regulatory framework. Staff will educate operators and provide sufficient for them to come into compliance with the new framework; the City will not close multi-tenant houses unless an immediate health and safety risk is identified.

For questions about operator licensing, contact the Multi-Tenant House Team at

Housing affordability and tenant support

As directed by City Council, the City is currently developing a multi-tenant house retrofit and repair program. The goal of the program is to preserve affordable multi-tenant houses. The program will provide funding and financial support to selected operators to offset some costs of compliance with the new licensing framework. More information on the program will be provided to operators directly when the program launches in spring 2024.

The City will also ensure supports are in place for tenants should they face evictions from a multi-tenant house or require emergency relocation.

There are existing programs and initiatives that will continue to support tenants at risk of eviction or facing displacement, including: Eviction Prevention in the Community (EPIC), Toronto Rent Bank, Toronto Tenant Support Program, Housing Help Centres, as well as emergency relocation support protocols established and managed by the City. The City also funds a hotline facilitated by The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA), which gives tenants access to support as it relates to their rights and responsibilities.

Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal

A new Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal with city-wide jurisdiction will replace the current Rooming House Commissioner in former Toronto. The new Tribunal will be an independent quasi-judicial body with the authority to hear appeals of licensing decisions and referrals from City staff. The Tribunal will have the authority to:

  • Uphold City decisions.
  • Issue, refuse, suspend or revoke a licence.
  • Add conditions to a licence.

The City presented a proposed relationship framework to the Executive Committee on October 31, 2023. The relationship framework will promote an effective and collaborative relationship between City staff and the Tribunal and provide clarity about the Tribunal’s mandate and the role of the City.

Communications and public education

The City is planning to launch a campaign to educate tenants, multi-tenant house operators and owners and the general public about the new regulations.

The City will inform tenants about their rights, tenant safety and the resources and programs available to support tenants who may face evictions. Operators will be provided details on how to achieve compliance and the supports that will be in place to help them continue to operate multi-tenant houses.

The communications goals also include creating awareness among Toronto residents on how the new regulations will help expand affordable housing options in the city and create safer multi-tenant houses, with enhanced maintenance requirements that help protect the safety of tenants and respond to neighbourhood concerns.

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