City Councillors in Toronto had an opportunity twice this year to approve a framework to permit and regulate multi-tenant homes (MTH) across the city that would protect the residents of unregulated MTH, and preserve these deeply affordable housing options for residents. Both times, City Council failed to get enough votes to pass this crucial policy and instead chose to defer the proposed MTH regulatory framework. The Mayor, while deferring the vote for a second time, asked City staff to reconsider several aspects of the proposed framework such as parking spaces, and increasing the number of enforcement workers.
MTH offers some of the most affordable housing options for Toronto’s residents and they exist in almost every neighbourhood across the city, whether or not some people choose to recognize them. These are the housing options for many students, newcomers, seniors and people living on fixed incomes. The failure of passing the new regulatory framework means that many of these residents will continue to live in the shadows, in often unsafe and inadequate homes. As their homes remain illegal in many parts of Toronto, these residents live with the fear of losing their home if they raise their housing concerns with City authorities, and are left without legal protections to improve their living conditions.
The City of Toronto made a commitment to advance the right to housing in its HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. This implies that the City adopts policies that help all residents access safe, adequate and affordable homes. The City of Toronto’s Housing Charter and a human rights approach to housing recognizes that “all residents should be able to live in their neighbourhood of choice without discrimination”. The current regulatory framework of the City’s multi-tenant homes is discriminatory and in conflict with the City’s Housing Charter commitments to uphold people’s right to housing.
Our City is once again allowing a dangerous and discriminatory status-quo to continue by deferring its vote on the new regulatory framework. We call on Mayor John Tory and Toronto City Council to end the ongoing discirmination against tenants living in MTH by approving and implementing the new regulatory framework. Protecting these residents and ensuring their safety is of paramount importance.