Rooming houses

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HOME Forums Forums General Rooming houses

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    • #12880

      Hey Fellow FPO’s!

      I would like to reach out to those of you who are dealing with boarding, rooming and lodging houses, more specifically student housing.

      Brampton has a crisis on its hands with a massive amount of illegal rooming houses for international students (4 bedroom house converted into 11 bedrooms for 25+ students). Brampton has a semi task group set up with our Bylaws Officers. Where we both attend site for the complaint. Though getting enough supporting evidence for an order or conviction is EXTREMLY challenging


      I was wondering what other cities are doing with their rooming houses? Task groups, not dealing with it, community outreach, etc?



      please let me know what your department or city is doing. my e-mail is



    • #12881
      Evgenia GolovatenkoEvgenia Golovatenko

      Who is reviewing your zoning compliance in Brampton? Involve them. Zoning should review what type of properties are allowed where. Fire is typically there to ensure the building is safe for occupants at the time being.

    • #12885

      I guess I should clarify. Zoning permits BRL occupancies in the downtown core only. they got through a registration process and the city and fire inspect them yearly.


      What I am talking about is a single dwelling unit that has been chopped up to fit as many human beings in it as possible.

      I guess this is really a question for the GTA departments and municipalities that have colleges and universities in them.


      Does your department respond to complaints about suspected lodging houses, do you have a task group or dedicated FPO’s, do you involve other agencies? Do you issue 9.3 orders or F orders? Do you try to prosecute straight away?

      I need to gather some data and perhaps support from other departments dealing with this issue to bring up my departments food chain to see if we can get something done to help tackle this fire safety issue.

    • #12886
      John WilsonJohn Wilson

      There’s always the option to also include the Building Department as construction would have taken place (most likely) without a permit. Under 36 (8) of the BCA, they have 1 year to act from the time they become aware of the issue (even if the issue has been in existence longer than that). Bring it to the CBO and/or Building Inspector to have an Order to Comply issued under either Sentence 8 or 12 of the BCA. The building permit would be needed anyway to bring the building into compliance so why not put it in their hands to start with.

    • #12929
      Matthew RichardsonMatthew Richardson

      Hello Heather,

      We have an enormous volume of rooming houses in our Municipality, some of which serve the college that exists in our community. Realistically, if a single family home has been converted to room/boarding/lodging your Building Division should become involved for a potential change-of-use.  Otherwise, you could apply the existing requirements of 9.3 provided it meets the application. Try to remove the zoning aspect from your decision making as it doesn’t involve the FD. If it doesn’t comply with zoning, the Building Dept.’s direction or permit applications resulting from a FD order would bring up the non-compliance to zoning. The CBO could always issue a conditional permit also.

    • #12934

      Thanks for the replies everyone.


      buildings, zoning, property standards and Bylaws divisions are all involved in rooming house complaints. Owners have gotten wiser and refuse access to the city. Fire is the most successful getting in. 9.3 is applied when application can be met, which is extremely difficult. That is where I am looking for insight from other municipalities.

      Proving remuneration is VERY difficult and is required to apply 9.3.


      What is your city doing?

      Are you successful with 9.3?

      Does your department use

      Does your department issue F orders?

    • #12935
      Mathew WilliamsonMathew Williamson

      Hi Heather, trust all’s well!   I know we did have some inquiry from one of your colleagues on this and I was asked to weigh in.  I was previously with the City of Oshawa and I would suggest you engaging them.  You could start with either Glenn Green in Fire or Jerry Conlin in By-law (both more or less the most senior officers).  Oshawa had a ‘warrant team’ of sorts and had a Special Enforcement Unit with much of their responsibility in obtaining information – evidence to support the obtaining of entry warrants.  I am available to discuss at any point as I was one of the leads on the team, but this was some time ago so things may have changed since then (2004-2008).


      Mat Williamson, Fire Prevention Inspector – Burlington Fire Department


    • #12988
      Derrick ClarkDerrick Clark

      Hi Heather,

      We have the same issue in Leamington but with Migrant workers for the farms. We have been invited in with the health unit to preform inspections as they need Fire Dept. approval now for the farms program. It starts with the building dept. under change of use, (single family home being convert to boarding rooming and lodging) this is where planning and zoning get involved. Also if you have any by-laws that pertain to if buildings being used for student housing.

      Derrick Clark  Fire Prevention Officer – Leamington Fire Services


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