In Toronto, rooming houses are defined as shared houses of 4 or more unrelated people who pay rent separately.
Rooming houses can be found in all parts of the city, providing affordable homes for newcomers, students, seniors and other low-income singles. However, rooming houses are only legally permitted in the pre-amalgamation City of Toronto, and parts of the former York and Etobicoke. This lack of legal recognition means that rooming house tenants are often afraid to complain to public officials if their homes are not property maintained, and at the tenants are at risk of losing their homes should a neighbour complain.
The City has recently proposed a pilot project that would permit rooming houses in five pilot areas outside the downtown using a “temporary by-law”.