News Release
April 5, 2024

The City of Toronto is implementing new rules for multi-tenant houses to ensure they are safer by standardizing this affordable housing option.

The new rules will improve oversight and compliance while preserving affordable housing for renters and supporting Toronto’s diverse communities with a range of housing opportunities for different incomes and needs. Multi-tenant houses were previously not permitted in some areas of the city. The City is unlocking more housing potential by legalizing and encouraging multi-tenant housing in Toronto.

As of Sunday, March 31, all operators of multi-tenant houses across Toronto must obtain a licence. Preserving tenancies is central to the City’s approach.

Over a three-year period, the implementation will gradually expand licensing and include an education-first approach to bylaw compliance. The City will also prioritize educating tenants about their rights throughout implementation and ensure a range of supports are in place for tenants in need.

Defining multi-tenant houses

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 unit. Multi-tenant houses are an important part of Toronto’s rental housing stock. These units come in a wide range of forms and are home to many diverse residents including newcomers, students, seniors and those with low-and-moderate incomes.

Advantages of the new rules include:

  • Permitting multi-tenant houses across the city with consistent standards such as maximum number of rooms and parking requirements.
  • Improving safety and building conditions for tenants and bringing properties into compliance with the Zoning Bylaw, Ontario Building Code and Ontario Fire Code.
  • Introducing enhanced licensing requirements for multi-tenant house operators that promote health and safety for tenants.
  • Introducing new operating standards for multi-tenant houses including personal care multi-tenant houses.
  • Launching a Multi-Tenant Houses Renovation program to provide funding and support to help preserve affordable multi-tenant houses and protect affordability for renters.
  • Establishing an effective compliance program including a dedicated enforcement team, annual inspections, increased fines, a new Multi-Tenant House Licensing Tribunal and other enforcement tools.

Toronto City Council amended the Zoning Bylaw to allow multi-tenant houses city-wide in Toronto and a new Multi-Tenant Houses Bylaw has introduced consistent standards to help protect the safety of tenants and respond to neighbourhood concerns.

Information about the licensing requirements for operators and supports for tenants are available on the City’s Multi-Tenant Houses webpage.


“These new standards are long overdue. 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. By introducing new, consistent and stronger rules for multi-tenant houses in Toronto – we will be able to ensure that those who already live in this type of housing, often low-income residents, have protections and a safe place to call home.”

– Mayor Olivia Chow

“This new city-wide housing initiative will save lives, it will make the quality of life for low-income Torontonians better.”

– Councillor Gord Perks (Parkdale-High Park), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee

Toronto is home to more than three million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation and climate action, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations