Rental Housing Licensing Pilot Program
In August 2021, Hamilton City Council approved a two-year Rental Housing Licensing pilot program for Wards 1, 8 and part of Ward 14. A licence is required for rental housing units and buildings or part of buildings with 4 or less self-contained units, detached homes or townhouses, if rented. The program would require property owners of rental housing to apply for a licence for each rented unit. This pilot started in 2022.
Rental housing units are still permitted to be rented during the licensing application process unless immediate health and safety violations are identified during inspections.
Why is this pilot project only in Wards 1, 8 and part of Ward 14?
The former Rental Housing Sub-Committee received concerns from community members, property owners and students regarding “illegal dwelling units, “absentee landlords”, property standards and yard maintenance complaints. This resulted in the recommendation that Wards 1 and 8 (and now parts of Ward 14) be the focus of a Rental Housing Licensing Pilot Project. Once the evaluation of the pilot program is complete, city staff will provide a report for Council to determine if this program should be implemented city wide.
How much will this pilot program cost Hamilton taxpayers? License fees are to reflect Full Cost Recovery based on the assumption that approx. 2,000 rental units are licensed annually. Should the program achieve the projected licence numbers, there is no cost to taxpayers.
Apply for Rental Housing Licence
To apply for a rental housing licence, property owners will need to submit:
Additional documentation is also required:
- Business Registration/Corporate Profile/Master Business Licence
- If the Owner is a partnership, the name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of each partner;
- If the Owner is a corporation, the address of its head office, the name, address, telephone number of each director and officer and a copy of:
- Articles of incorporation;
- A copy of the last initial notice or notice of change which has been filed with the provincial or federal government; and,
- A Certificate of Status issued by the Ministry of Government and Consumer services.
- Proof of Liability Insurance as a Rental Property ($2 million per occurrence)
- Proof of Property Ownership
- Certificate of Compliance Application
- Self-Certification Checklist as per the by-law.
- Floor Plan of the Rental Housing Unit, for each room, its dimensions and proposed use, clearly indicating the location and number of bedrooms. View sample floor plan
- A site sketch that indicates the location of the Rental Housing Unit, any external garage/recycling facilities, and parking spaces. The number of parking spaces must be clearly indicated with their dimensions.
- Documentation from an ESA/ECRA licensed electrician stating a general electrical inspection was completed and the rental housing unit complies with the Electrical Safety Code, O. Reg.164/99;
- Duplexes (Two-Unit Dwellings) do not need to submit Electrical Inspection documentation with the initial application; it may be requested post Fire inspection.
- Certificate of Zoning Verification from the City of Hamilton. Fees are the responsibility of the property owner. Learn more about Zoning Verifications
The Zoning Verification certificate indicates whether a use is permitted and the what the last recognized use of the property is. The property must be recognized for the current proposed use to move forward with the licensing process.
Once Zoning Verification certificate is received, please review the certificate for any additional instructions prior to contacting the Licensing Section.
Note: Properties that are not recognized as their proposed use, may require additional steps to become recognized.
Complete application packages and supporting forms can be submitted in 2 ways:
- In person to 330 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton
- By email to [email protected], a file number will be created and sent back to the applicant.
Please refer to the Business Licence Reference Guide for more information on application requirements by licence type.
Once a complete application has been submitted, the Rental Licence application process will be initiated. Timelines for licence issuance can vary depending on the results of the required inspections.
To make an online payment you must have:
- your application number if paying for a new licence i.e: 22-XXXXX (first 2 digits represent the year)
Rental Licensing Fees
|Department||1st Year||2nd year||Frequency|
|Licensing & By-Law Services||$156.38||$156.38||Annual|
|Building (Zoning Verification)||$278||One-Time|
|Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)* inspection*||Every 3 years|
* Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) inspections are done by a 3rd party service provider, property owners are responsible for arranging the inspection and the applicable fees.
After Application has been Submitted
- A Licensing Compliance Officer will schedule an appointment with the property owner to gain entry to the building for a Property Standards inspection of each unit. Refer to the Rental Dwelling Checklist on what is investigated during an inspection.
- The Hamilton Fire Department will schedule an appointment with the property owner to gain entry to the building for a Fire Safety inspection of each unit to ensure compliance with the Fire Code. The Fire Checklist is a guide for property owners to understand what will be inspected. Any Orders issued as a result of the inspections need to be complied with prior to the rental housing licence being issued. Upon inspection from Hamilton Fire Department, , if the rental unit is identified as a lodging home rather than a rental house, and subject to Section 9.3 of the Ontario Fire Code, further follow up will be required with the City of Hamilton Licensing Section to determine compliance with the Licensing By-law 07-170, Schedule 9 - Lodging Houses.
- Once all inspections are complete, the property is in compliance with municipal by-laws and relevant legislation and the application has been submitted in full a rental housing licence may be issued.