Regulation of Small-Scale Multi-Tenancy Dwellings

I’ve been working on increasing affordable housing since I was first elected in 2014. The University of Manitoba has the lowest number of on campus housing units in all of the large Canadian universities and students are always looking for affordable accommodations. Even though there are many new apartments, many homeowners are renting out rooms in their homes. Since the pandemic, many people other than students are seeking affordable places to rent and are renting rooms in houses, as apartment rental rates do not fit everyone’s budget. While this is very positive in that rooms in single family homes provide housing for tenants, there needs to be an increase in regulations.  We are still seeing houses – in single family zoned areas, renting out rooms. Sometimes up to 10 rooms per house.

Council directed the Public Service to:

  1. Make a formal request to the Province of Manitoba to amend the Manitoba Building Code (the “Code”) in order to allow for more cost-efficient conversion options for small scale multi-tenancy dwellings, such as boarding houses and rooming houses with four or fewer tenants.
  2. Report back to Council with amendments to existing City by-laws:
  3. To ensure that the definition and regulation of multi-tenancy situations, such as boarders, roomers, converted single family dwellings and duplexes, are aligned and consistent among those by-laws, with a view to increased enforceability.
  4. To more permissibly regulate small scale multi-tenancy situations such as boarders (that are not part of a single housekeeping unit) and rooming houses with four or fewer tenants.

September 2023

The public service presented a report stating:

  • The  Urban Planning and Design will work with Community Services to explore a potential licensing program to regulate small-scale multi-tenant dwellings in neighbourhoods around the University of Manitoba. The Public Service will also consider amendments to the Winnipeg Zoning By-law 200/2006 to align with a potential licensing program.
  • The opportunity to regulate small-scale multi-tenancy dwellings under the Winnipeg Zoning By-law 200/2006 and the Community Safety Business Licensing By-law will be investigated as part of the two-year comprehensive Zoning By-law re-write commencing in 2025.
  • The public service will also have had two years to study the opportunities and challenges related to the licensing of short term rentals and potentially apply to the regulating of small-scale multi-tenancy dwellings.

For complete details on this proposal – see Regulation of Small-Scale Multi-Tenancy Dwellings

In 2018 – the public service did a review of licensing models across Canada – see: Review of Rental Rooms in Single Family Dwellings