You cannot Evict Tenants from an Illegal Rooming House


Here are the basic facts: a multi-family property, consisting of 12 units, with 4 of those units being operated by the current owner as “rooming house”, is being rented out by the bedroom rather than being rented out by the apartment at slightly higher rates, (for example, rather than a 3-bedroom unit for $1,200/month, it is rented at $500/month/per room to up the net income.

If the property is not zoned for a rooming house, can tenants be evicted since the property must be reverted back to comply with the existing zoning?

Are there proper grounds to evict?


It looks like you do have a rooming house. The property better be up to standards because if there is ever a fire and the Fire Department gets there, the owner could be facing fines of $500,000 .00 per person. Insurance coverage is a problem too.

And, the worst part: to make things better you don’t get to kick anyone out. That’s illegal and contrary to the Residential Tenancies Act.

So, how do you get them out? Pay them! It’s that simple. Remember all those extra profits generated because it was a rooming house. Well, it’s not! It’s illegal and you are just waiting for By-law Enforcement and The Fire Department to close it down.

Dig deep and pay everybody off. You might ask, what will happen if they don’t go, but that will never, ever happen, because you are just going to give them so much money.

Basically, the Landlord cannot take advantage of his own illegal practice and then evict the Tenants. The Landlord has to come to Court with “clean hands”.

The building could be shut down by the City, for non-compliance. That remedy is available to the City and is not affected by the Residential Tenancies Act.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

Comments 13

  1. I live in the state of Florida…In a so call Efficiency. I’ve been a Tennant for 2 yrs. now this room was an add on to a 2-bedroom house. I owe 1 month rent. I lost my job Iam behind 2 months. Owner haven’t been Harassing me and threaten to take me to court. What can I do?

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      1. I guess what I am asking, is there any loop hole, where the owner of the non registered illegal rooming house can get the landlord tenant board to evict the tenants from the property?

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          1. An example, today, a lawyer said the LTB doesn’t care about illegal dwellings or rooming houses, and that they will still hear the case and evict the tenant, even if the rooming house is illegal, rent is rent he said. The house I reside in has no permit to be a rooming house. seems like chicanery is favour of the landlord in my opinion.

  2. After winning the case via mediation, I can now confirm that this legal angle is indeed a strong stance to take! In short , it is a correct legal stance!

  3. As stated in the main post above, if the Landlord is found guilty of operating a rooming house illegally, “The building could be shut down by the City, for non-compliance.” In that case, I suppose the tenants would not have a choice but to move out.
    However, would the tenants be entitled to some form of compensation from the Landlord for being forced to leave the property?

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  4. As well the by law on contains to 4 bedrooms or more so the 3 bedroom units would not violate or be constituted as a rooming house

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