The City of Toronto is seeking feedback from the public on its proposed policy framework to regulate multi-tenant housing (commonly known as rooming houses) across Toronto. Multi-tenant houses are an important part of the city’s rental housing stock because they are one of the most affordable options for lower income Torontonians, yet they remain illegal in many parts of the city.
The City has opened up a number of ways to hear from the public on this important issue. It’s important that the City legalizes multi-tenant houses and makes changes to its proposed framework that will not displace tenants, and enhances the health and safety of residents.
Now it’s up to us to make our message loud and clear: the City’s framework should be viewed through a human rights lens, putting tenants at the centre.
Join the public meeting
Monday June 28, 2021 | 1:30 pm
Toronto City Council’s Planning and Housing Committee is holding this public meeting to invite residents to make their views known.
Here are three ways you can have your voice heard:
About the City’s proposed policy on multi-tenant houses
- Multi-tenant houses will be defined as a building with four or more dwelling rooms that may have shared washrooms, cooking facilities, or both.
- Multi-tenant houses will be legalized in all residential districts in Toronto. Right now, they are legal only in the old City of Toronto and small parts of Etobicoke and York.
- Landlords must apply for a license to operate a multi-tenant house. The landlord must submit a property management plan among other documents. The house must also comply with Ontario’s Building Code. The City will inspect these structures once per year.
- The City will provide information and education to help landlords uphold their responsibilities, and tenants to uphold their rights.
Concerns with the City’s proposal:
- The costs to renovate multi-tenant houses so that they comply with Ontario’s Building Code can be very high. A recent study of five multi-tenant houses that were renovated to meet the Code found that costs ranged from $9,000 to $37,000 per room.
- Some landlords may pass these costs on to tenants. Others may decide the costs are too high and will sell the house instead of renovating.
- There will be a cap on the number of bedrooms permitted in a multi-tenant house. In most districts, this cap will be 6 bedrooms. In large houses, some tenants may need to move out in order for the house to remain under the 6-bedroom limit. Landlords that cannot afford to keep the house running with fewer tenants may decide to sell the house, requiring all tenants to find new homes. This will be difficult for many tenants who have few affordable options. The average rent for a room in a multi-tenant house is $450 – $700 per month. The average rent for a bachelor apartment is $1450 per month.
What housing advocates would like to see:
- Rooming houses must be legalized across the city.
- A cap on the number of bedrooms allowed in multi-tenant houses must be removed. Toronto already has property standards that can be used to address overcrowding
- A city-wide “no displacement” policy must be created to protect people living in multi-tenant housing from becoming homeless due to the City’s actions. Tenants must be offered alternative housing that meets their needs BEFORE they leave their current home.