New bylaws for off-campus living

With the fall semester in full swing, many students have left home to live on their own, either in residence on campus or renting a place near it. Residence housing gives students guidelines and is probably not as stressful as living off-campus; it also allows students to be in the heart of the campus. Many first-years living in residence are able to better learn about the campus, including its facilities, buildings, and overall campus life.

The UTM website recently posted a list of new bylaws for residential rental-accommodation licensing for students renting off-campus in Mississauga. Lodging houses are one of the focuses in the new licensing bylaws. (These bylaws do not affect houses with three or fewer rental units.)

For students renting a room in a house with four or more renters,  their landlord must have a renting license. If the landlord does not have a license, the business may be illegal. Students are encouraged to contact their landlord and ensure that they have their license. Landlords who refuse to obtain their license may have their lodging houses closed, forcing the students to find other arrangements.

A license does not affect the cost of rent. Rent is set by the lease and the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Act.

Also in the licensing bylaws, lodging houses cannot use the basement as a rental space. Lodging houses are required to have a fire escape plan and will be inspected annually for fire safety. This includes ensuring that fire and smoke alarms are installed properly and are working, and that no rooms have refrigerators, cooking appliances, or washing machines.

Many upper-year students choose to live off-campus, and will be living on their own. One option is renting one room in a lodging house (a house that rents four or more rooms to students), or renting a house with a group of friends. Without parental supervision the temptation for students to set their own house rules is attractive, but living off-campus doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t act like rules don’t matter.

The Mississauga Good Neighbours Guide for University Students, a pamphlet produced by the City of Mississauga working with UTM, is designed to give students living off-campus tips on how to be a good neighbour. They include being friendly, considerate, and respectful, contributing to safety, following garbage schedules, planning safe parties, and following a safety checklist (which includes ensuring that fire and smoke alarms work, that a fire extinguisher is present, and that students have an emergency kit handy with a flashlight, batteries, water, food, and blankets).

Students are advised to see the Student Off-Campus Accommodation website at to find a place to rent. Information about the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Act can be found at

For questions about licensing bylaws or specific rental properties, students should contact the City of Mississauga’s Compliance and Licensing Enforcement Section by phone at 905-896-5558 or email at [email protected]