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Should rooming houses be allowed across the city?

One of the debates I came across on Twitter this week was about multi-tenant houses (also known as rooming houses) in Toronto. Currently, they are allowed in the former city of Toronto, parts of Etobicoke, and in York. But they are illegal everywhere else in the city.

The reason why the rules differ is simply because they weren’t harmonized following amalgamation in 1998. And so right now we are debating whether or not things should be changed so that multi-tenant houses are permissible across the city.

As you can probably guess, it’s a divisive issue.

The more urban councillors believe that rooming houses are vital because of their relative affordability. The more suburban councillors are, on the other hand, speaking for their constituents and saying that homeowners really don’t want them in their communities. It’s about “protecting the integrity of single-family communities.”

No surprise here.

For this reason, a recent vote on the issue was deferred. It’s expected to come back to council in September. Maybe there will be more support at that time. Or maybe there won’t be. Either way, rooming houses will continue to exist all across the city. Some of them may just be illegal.

If I had any say in the matter, I would vote “yes.”


  1. Tarek Essam

    A friend of mine who lives in Scarborough (were am assuming it is illegal, as per your post) has been renting out 3 rooms in his basement for different tenants for more than 10 years. His mortgage is nearly paid, thanks in large because of his rental income. Legal or not I would have done that same to be honest, as long as my tenants are not causing anyone any trouble, it’s no one’s business what I do with my property.


  2. Pingback: Stable low-rise residential neighborhoods are the be-all and end-all – BRANDON DONNELLY

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