Rooming houses are often-overlooked in Toronto, but they provide an essential form of affordable housing in a city that struggles with the issue. In Torontoist, I looked a little more closely at this issue and created a map of all licensed rooming houses located in the City of Toronto. (The list from which the map was created can be found here.)
There are many, many more illegal rooming houses across Toronto that I didn’t map; currently they only legal in certain parts of the city – the old City of Toronto and parts of the old cities of York and Etobicoke. These outdated laws predate amalgamation, and ignore the need for this form of affordable housing, as well as the variety of rooming arrangements. Illegal, undocumented rooming houses have the potential to be firetraps, licencing and inspections protect tenants from unsafe and unhealthy living conditions.
It’s time for updated regulations that cover all of Toronto; landlords should be able to rent out rooms right across the city. Happily, the city is conducting a city-wide review of rooming houses; one of the goals is to modernize the city’s by-laws; another is to improve the conditions in existing rooming houses.