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. Learn more about your rights as a tenant and where to access help below.

  • Landlords are responsible for ensuring safe and well-maintained multi-tenant houses, including maintaining standards to respond to tenant service requests, implementing property management plans, and mitigating the impact of waste and pests by establishing clear processes and responsibilities.
  • If you have maintenance issues or safety concerns in either licensed or unlicensed houses, you can report them by calling 311.
  • In order to get a licence, the City may require landlords to undertake renovations to meet important building and fire safety codes. If you are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, there are protections that apply to you if the landlord is renovating the house.
  • Note that the City’s goal is to work with operators to bring them into compliance with health and safety regulations. The City will not close multi-tenant houses unless an immediate health and safety risk is identified.

Find more information about landlord and operator responsibilities.

Protection Under the Residential Tenancies Act

If you rent a room in a multi-tenant house, then you are usually covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and have the same rights and protections as other renters.

Note that you may not be covered by the RTA if you:

  • Share a bathroom or kitchen with your landlord
  • Rent in some types of seasonal or temporary housing
  • Rent a home that is also a place of business

Tenant Rights

  • A landlord in an unlicensed or licensed multi-tenant house cannot evict a tenant on their own because the home is not licensed by the City.
  • Under the RTA, landlords are required to give official notices of eviction, which starts the eviction process.
  • Your landlord cannot evict you on their own, and you do not have to move out if you receive an eviction notice from your landlord.
  • You do not have to do anything until the landlord files an eviction application with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). The LTB will notify you of the application and hearing date if/when this happens.
  • You do not have to move out unless the LTB issues an eviction order against you.
  • The City will also not close a multi-tenant house unless an immediate health and safety risk is identified.

    If you have issues with the room that you are renting, talk to your landlord and submit a service request in writing. Your landlord is required to respond to all non-urgent service requests within seven days and to all urgent service requests within 24 hours. Urgent requests can include fuel, electricity, gas, heat, cold or hot water issues.

    You can use this visual service request forms as a guide. Available in English and the following languages:

    If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 to have the City investigate. You can call 311, submit a complaint/service request online or email

    Once you submit a complaint (service request) through 311, the City will reach out to you. If your complaint is urgent and related to vital services, the City will respond within 24 hours. If your complaint is about a non-urgent issue then the City will respond within five days.

    You can check the status using the reference number provided to you. Call 311 anytime and a customer service representative will assist you. You can also track your service request online by entering your reference number on the 311 page or in the 311 app.