I live in University-Rosedale, in something which might be considered a rooming house, though my unit is self-contained (one room plus a small bathroom with a shower, the main room has a cooking area.) I’ve lived in rooming houses on and off throughout my life.

I’m putting the candidates policies up mostly so it can be found by people in my riding, which means it’ll be of little interest to most of my readers. I promised no editorializing when soliciting these positions and I’m going to leave comments closed. An open thread comment would be appropriate if you have something you want to say.

In alphabetical order:

Robin Buxton Potts

My position is that we need to pass the original proposed city wide legalization by-law as a matter of priority in the new term.

I am deeply invested in ensuring the new enforcement and compliance strategy is implemented. We know that despite being “in licensed or illegal) people operate and living in rooming/ boarding houses across the city, often in very unsafe conditions.

Giving our property standards enforcement officers more resources and more ability to enter units and homes to inspect the safety of these homes is critical for the well being of all residents. Not doing so puts lives at risk.

Approving this harmonized, City wide policy, and the enhanced enforcement abilities and resources is one of the fastest things the city can do to increase affordability, and protect residents – many of whom are our most vulnerable, including new Canadians, students, Black, Indigenous and queer communities.


Norm Di Pasquale

The fact Council still has not approved a policy legalizing and regulating rooming houses is problematic, and extremely dangerous.

In our current housing environment, affordability being the chief concern of many, and wages not keeping up with the cost of living, there are residents who are living in these spaces and it is incumbent on Council to ensure they are extended the same rights and protections as other people who rent in Toronto.

We need to immediately approve licensing and regulations for these spaces across the entirety of the City, and then work to ensure quality and affordability is kept front and centre as we strive to support residents through the housing crisis.


Diane Saxe

I support City-licensed and well-regulated rooming houses / boarding houses as a quick way to create deeply affordable accommodation close to transit, jobs and services, especially for those living alone. Such houses have been part of the historical fabric of Toronto for at least a hundred years. With an unhoused population close to 10,000, Toronto needs more of them.

Earlier this year, City Council unwisely turned down a motion to legalize and regulate rooming houses across Toronto. As a result, we have both an unnecessary shortage of such housing and a serious problem with illegal SROs.

With the rising cost of living, and especially of housing, I have heard from some university students that they are living in shelters and other temporary housing because of a lack of affordable housing near campus. This shortage could be reduced with more rooming houses. I recently visited one on St. George that was well-maintained, housed sixteen students and was a good neighbour to the surrounding homes. We need more like that. They are a valuable part of the “missing middle” housing that should be permitted in all residential areas.

On the other hand, unregulated, poorly run and illegal rooming houses can put both their residents and their neighbours at risk. Some constituents have experienced long-standing difficult impacts as a result of violent and disruptive behaviour at such houses, and feel that the City is ignoring their legitimate rights and concerns.

It is the City’s responsibility to set appropriate rules and to enforce them, for the comfort and safety of all those affected. In addition, the licensing guidelines enforced by the City Licensing Commissioner should be amended to make adverse impacts on neighbours material when granting or renewing a  rooming house licence.