Shared rental housing

Shared rental housing is a common form of rental accommodation in the City of Guelph that is mainly associated with lodging houses and accessory apartments. These forms of housing are regulated through the Zoning By-law as well as the Provincial Fire and Building Codes. These regulations are in place to ensure that safe, decent housing is available for tenants and that these residential units are compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood. The development of a rental housing licensing program under the Municipal Act is currently under review.

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Lodging House Regulations

The City of Guelph has by-laws in effect which provide for the initial creation and the property maintenance of lodging houses throughout the city. These by-law regulations are found in Zoning By-law (1995)-14864 and Property Standards By-law (2000)-16454. Aside from municipal by-laws, the applicable sections of the Ontario Fire Code and the Ontario Building Code are applied to lodging houses.

Through the creation and strict enforcement of these by-laws and Provincial legislation, the City of Guelph is providing consistent standards for a safe form of affordable accommodation.

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Accessory Apartment Regulations

An accessory apartment is permitted in most single detached and semi detached houses located within R1, R2, CBD2 and OR zones.

In order to be considered legal, the apartment must be inspected and registered by the City as a two unit house. To become registered, the property must meet the requirements of the City of Guelph Zoning By-Law and, either the Ontario Building Code or the Ontario Fire Code, as determined by City of Guelph Building Services.

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Guidelines for landlords

Please consider some of these points when renting rooms, apartments or lodging accommodation to prospective tenants, especially if you are residing off-premises.

General house rules for tenants and lodgers

Your tenants and lodgers should understand certain basic house rules concerning their conduct and responsibility within the neighbourhood. Loud music and noisy parties should not be tolerated. If there are overnight guests, responsible behaviour is required. This means no trespassing in neighbour’s yards and no rowdy behaviour which could result in charges. Inform tenants of general municipal requirements concerning parking, property maintenance and garbage pick-up and the disposal of bulky items. Post important rules in the kitchen or hallway so that they are visible to tenants.

Consider a house captain

In a fully rented dwelling in which the landlord does not reside on site, consider appointing one person as a house captain who can oversee matters to ensure that the tenants conduct themselves responsibly and 1so that problems are properly addressed. The house captain should be a responsible person who could work with both tenants and neighbours when problems occur.

Check in regularly

Make sure that the place is being properly maintained. If you can’t visit the property regularly, check in periodically with the house captain. Also check with other neighbours from time to time to make sure that they are satisfied with the manner in which the property is being maintained and with the conduct of the tenants.

Know how much space is available on site for parking

The space available in the driveway for parking does not necessarily have to equate to the number of tenants, however, as a landlord you should keep in mind that many students now require the use of a car. If the driveway can only accommodate 2 vehicles, and both spots are taken, it would not be a wise choice to consider an additional tenant who has a car. Please also remember that there are maximum driveway width restrictions in place for properties that are zoned R.1 and R.2.

Keep the cars off the lawn

Cars that are parked on the lawn can result in a summons to court being issued to any and all owners of the property. To discourage front lawn parking, you may wish to consider a physical barrier along the edge of the driveway such as railway ties, decorative boulders, low fencing, hedges or a garden. Encourage the tenants to develop a system for parking in which they do not have to rely on the use of the front lawn.

Ensure the property is regularly maintained

If you are relying on the tenants to maintain the property, make sure that they are aware of this at the beginning, and encourage them to work out a system for mowing the lawn, taking out garbage and shovelling the snow.

Advise tenants or lodgers about City services for disposal of bulky items

There are special considerations in the disposal of bulky items such as old furniture. Advise your tenants that the City offers two programs to dispose of bulky items. One is the Bulky Items Collection Program which operates year round on a user pay basis. Special stickers and collection arrangements are required for this program. The other program is a Goods Exchange Day which is held twice yearly, in the spring and fall.

Last Updated: January 7, 2015. Broken links or incorrect information? Let us know!