The Renter's Guide

Recently, we received a rental application for a unit in one of the rental properties that we manage.  All the required information (current residence, rental history, employment history, personal references and income verification) was provided.  The rental application also included the number of people who would be occupying the unit.  At first glance, it appeared as if we were not going to have any issue with the application.  The financial information, subject to verification, and the credit report seemed to meet the financial requirements.  However, when we counted the number of occupants, we realized that we would have a problem.  The number of persons who would be living in the unit exceeded the allowance that is permitted by the Toronto Municipal Code.

Chapter 629 Property Standards, Article IV, Paragraph 629-25, Occupancy Standards, Subsection C, states the following: "The maximum number of persons living in a habitable room shall not exceed one person per each nine square meters of habitable room floor area".

Regrettably, we had to reject the application, as the number of people in relation to the available rental space did not meet code.

It is not an uncommon situation. Renters sometimes include not only their immediate family, but also their extended family, which wishes or is required to live together.  However, it is not always possible. Landlords are very sensitive and worried as permitting such violations may put them in a peril situation, not only with the City, but also with their insurance company.  We also recognize the fire risk.  The situation of overloading is, unfortunately, still in existence especially in the rental of rooming homes.

It was not long ago that a fire occurred in downtown Toronto where lives were lost, just to find out later on that an overloading situation existed.

Beyond the fire code, overcrowding can lead to the building not being able to service the community properly.  One should remember that when a rental apartment was constructed, it did not contemplate the number of people or the ratio of the number of people per square meter. However, the fire code does apply and therefore the restrictions on the number of people do apply.

So what can be done when the place you wish to rent is not available to you because of this particular Municipal Code?   The straight forward solution is to try and look for a larger unit that will be able to accommodate the number of people in your family or extended family.  This can be located in mainly rental apartment buildings, which are part of the old inventory or large rental town homes or houses.  As well, try to see if two apartments next to each other can be a solution.  Of course, you may have to pay for two units which may at the end cost more, but will provide the necessary space and comfort to meet your needs.

It is important to understand that it may be for no other reason, that an application is rejected, other than non-compliance of the Fire Code.

Shlomo Sharon is CEO of Taft Management Inc. and a member of CCI since 2002. Taft Management Inc. is an ACMO 2000 Certified Property Management Company and has been providing property management services since 1996. Visit the website www.taft-forward.com for further information or email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .