Multi-tenant houses, also known as rooming houses, can include a house, apartment or building where you share a kitchen and/or washroom with four or more people who each pay individual rent.
Multi-tenant houses (rooming houses) are only permitted in the former cities of York, Toronto and Etobicoke. Rooming houses that operate in Toronto and Etobicoke must be licensed.
What is an Ontario Fire Code Regulated Rooming House?
This type of rooming house is a house or dwelling unit where more than four individuals separately rent out sleeping rooms or lodge rooms, and share kitchen and/or washrooms. No one individual within the rooming house has exclusive access to both kitchen and washroom facilities.
Conditions and Factors that Increase Risk of Fire and Injury in this Type of Housing
- Renovation typically done without required City review and approval (no building permit).
- Inadequate exits for Basement, 2nd and 3rd Floors. At least two (2) exits are required for these floor levels, and they are typically not provided. Note: open stairs, or enclosed stairs without a door discharging directly outdoors are not exits.
- Lack of interconnected smoke/CO alarms and/or fire alarm system throughout the house (due to no building permit).
- Interior finishes not Code compliant, increasing speed of flame spread.
- Lack of proper electrical upgrades to accommodate increased electrical loads, and/or electrical upgrades not ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) inspected and approved.
- Lodgers typically do not know each other to the extent that they can be familiar with each other’s habits and help each other out in case of a fire emergency (many lodging rooms are for rent on a weekly or monthly basis).
- Lodging rooms are typically locked by the lodgers, and other lodgers are typically not aware of what occurs inside the locked rooms.
- Lodgers overload what few electrical outlets within their rooms using adapters.
Further requirements for rooming houses are found under Part 9 section 9.3 of The Ontario Fire Code.