Student rooming house discovered in Scarborough

Feb 11, 2013 | News

The owners of a house in Scarborough are facing charges for allegedly running an illegal rooming house.
On Monday, 11 people were found crammed together in one house on Military Trail across from the U of T Scarborough campus.

According to the Toronto Star, officials believe it was home to foreign students who were living in separate rooms and paying individual rent.

Under Scarborough zoning regulations, a number of people can live in a home if they are a family sharing both the rent and common areas, however, this was not the case for the housing situation on Military Trail, said Bill Blakes, a manager with Municipal Licensing and Standards Scarborough district.

“If people live together as a family, normally there is some responsibility put on the family to maintain the place,” said Blakes. “But if everybody is coming and going, especially if there is 10 or 12 or 18 students, and they don’t know each other and paying their own rent, some of the maintenance issues and safety issues can get pretty severe so that’s our main concern.

Blakes said there were no smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and most renovations would be done without permits. “The last thing we want to hear is that there’s been a fire where a bunch of students are renting and somebody has perished,” said Blakes.

Dave Wallace, the constituency assistant for councillor Ron Moeser, said the ward, which covers the Highland Creek community where much of the student housing is located, has 29 complaints regarding similar situations to the house on Military Trail.

“Strictly speaking, Scarborough has never allowed rooming houses, and these are what these are classified as,” said Wallace.

Both Wallace and Blakes emphasize that the main concern is the students well-being. “They’re not trying to kick students out or anything like that, they’re trying to make things safe,” said Wallace.