How the Waitlist Works

COVID-19: Tenants and Property Owners

The information below outlines some of the changes, options and supports available to you during these challenging times.   

The Ontario government suspension of new evictions through the COVID-19 crisis has ended as of August 1. Refer to the Landlord and Tenant Board website for details. It is critical that tenants and landlords have a written rent repayment agreement in place with payments that the tenant is able to make in their current financial situation. Tenants should not agree to repayment amounts they are not able to pay. Tenants should speak to their landlord about a repayment agreement even if they have received an eviction notice. Learn more about the financial supports that may be available.

Eviction orders issued before the mid-March Emergency Order are now being enforced. Eviction hearings are now being scheduled. Where landlords have given tenants eviction notices (N notices) during the eviction suspension, landlords must follow the processes in the Residential Tenancies Act to evict a tenant. These eviction processes were recently revised and the changes are retroactive to the March Emergency Order. Landlords and tenants can learn more about these changes to rental and eviction law from the Government of Ontario.

CERB applications are now being reviewed. Individuals who received CERB payments but were ineligible will be required to repay the amounts received. The CRA is asking individuals to repay those amounts by December 31, 2020. If a person repays the CERB before this time, the government says that they won't be fined or get any type of penalty. Review the CERB repayment details. For questions about your individual circumstance, please contact the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.

Tenant questions should be directed to Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. Landlord questions should be directed to Tribunals Ontario. Check this site regularly for additional updates and helpful links. 

Helpful Links:

The Residential Tenancy Act, 2006 (RTA) establishes a framework for the regulation of residential rents and balances the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. It provides protection for residential tenants from unlawful rent increases and unlawful evictions, and includes processes to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. 

Learn more about landlord rights and responsibilities

Helpful Links:

There are many types of financial support available to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. A COVID-19 Virtual Assistant is available online to help you find more information on what financial supports are there for you from the Government of Canada.

Learn more about federal and provincial financial supports for individuals

Helpful Links:

The Property Tax Assistance program outlines several financial measures to Hamilton property taxpayers and ratepayers dealing with the possible financial hardship caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.  

Learn more about Support for Property Tax Payers 

Helpful Links:

Landlords are urged to adopt enhanced health and safety measures to protect residents from COVID-19. Residential buildings with a high number of units should adopt new practices and a rigorous cleaning routine to prevent viral spread.

Property owners/tenants are encouraged to check in on vulnerable residents/neighbours, connecting them to appropriate local agencies and supports if necessary.

Helpful Links:

To date, the City of Hamilton has allocated over $700,000 toward supporting vulnerable residents during this difficult time by assisting with food and basic needs, keeping shelters open and working with agencies to provide access to washrooms/showers. Isolation Centres have also been set up to provide food and shelter to any individuals in the shelter system that test positive for COVID-19.

A temporary emergency shelter based out of FirstOntario Centre will offer additional support to individuals who are at-risk and/or experiencing homeless, accommodating overflow from the shelter system to help ensure physical distancing.

Staff are also exploring ways to provide online supports for older adults, offering property owners some form of tax relief and setting up a network to deliver essentials like food and medication to those who are self-isolating but have little support.

List of emergency shelters for men, women, youth and families


The centralized waiting list is a modified-chronological housing wait list of all applicants eligible for rent-geared-to-income or RGI assistance in Hamilton. The list is maintained in compliance with the Housing Services Act, 2011 and approved local rules and standards.

Access to Housing or ATH will process all completed applications for subsided housing. If you are eligible, ATH will add you to the centralized waiting list. This waiting list is based on the date that you apply for housing. This means your name will be added to the waiting list for all the locations you noted on the Building Selection Form. 

You will be offered housing when you are #1 on the waitlist through the Housing Provider that you selected. The staff at ATH cannot predict or guess when you will be housed. It will depend on the status your file was given, the date you applied for housing, and your housing selections.

A Non-Profit Landlord will contact you with an offer of accommodation. You will only receive one offer. If you refuse that offer of accommodation your application will be cancelled and you will have to reapply and start again at the beginning. You have the right to request a review of any cancelled application through the  Social Housing Review Panel

Please call ATH to report any changes of address, telephone number or who will be living with you. It is important that you keep your application up to date and that you respond quickly to ATH’s requests for additional information. There is a time limit for responding.

If you want to make changes to your selection of housing choices, you must come to the ATH office to do so.

Please do not call ATH to ask when you will be offered housing. Non-Profit Landlords select applicants from the waiting list by date of application on a first come, first served basis. The only way you will move up on the waitlist is when applicants ahead of you on the list are offered housing. 

Keep your place on the waiting list

Stay connected
If your contact information changes, tell us right away. We will make your file inactive if we cannot contact you. You cannot be offered housing if your file is inactive.

Keep your application up to date
The government regulations for social housing make it your responsibility to keep your application up to date. If you do not tell us about changes in your information, you could lose your place on the waiting list. Access to Housing will also review your eligibility once a year.

Stay eligible
Every member of your household must continue to meet the five conditions listed under “Who can apply for subsidized housing?

Review your needs regularly
Review your housing needs regularly and tell us right away if your needs or preferences change.