Have Your Say on Legalizing Rooming Houses

The City is again considering making rooming houses legal in all Toronto neighbourhoods. Currently, they can be located on any residential property in the downtown and in parts of Etobicoke. They are not allowed in North York.

The change is proposed by Toronto’s Planning department, which is inviting you to comment by attending a virtual meeting on May 4 or 11, by answering a questionnaire online, or by phone at 647-3721733. The City will also be hosting workshops to get feedback from key stakeholder groups, such as tenants, owners and operators of multi-tenant houses, post-secondary schools and students, area residents groups and housing-related agencies and organizations.

If rooming houses – referred to as “multi-tenant houses” for this report – are allowed as a right in all residential zones, that is a potentially large change in neighbourhoods like Willowdale. Whether you are for or against this proposal, or just want to learn more before voicing an opinion, I encourage you to participate.

In simple terms, a multi-tenant house is a building in which individual rooms are rented out, typically with shared kitchens or washrooms. Houses rented by a group of friends or relatives who share the rent are not in this category; those have been legal for many years.

In the past, I have given this issue a lot of thought and have not supported legalizing rooming houses in North York. I will be closely watching the issue and the community comments and will be writing more about it in a future newsletter.

– John