Business Licences

Rental Housing Licensing Pilot Program

Business Licensing
We have reopened in-person counters for regular business hours (8:30 am to 4:30 pm):

  • Monday to Friday at City Hall, 71 Main St. W., 1st Floor
  • Monday and Wednesday at 330 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton

Business Licence applications or renewals can be submitted 7 days a week to [email protected]

Questions for staff? Contact us 5 days a week by email [email protected] or phone at 905 546-2782 option 3.

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 will start 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. 

Find out if your property requires a rental housing licence

The City will be doing a phased in approach for rental housing licensing application submissions. Enter your address to determine if your property requires a licence and if the application submission period is open for your property. View a map showing licensing application dates and enforcement timelines for each zone (PDF, 2 MB)

What rentals require a licence?

  • Rental housing units and buildings or part of buildings with 4 or less self-contained units, detached homes or townhouses, if rented. A licence is required for each rented unit.
  • Does not include hotels/motels, lodging homes, short-term rental, multiple dwelling unit, etc.
  • A Multiple Dwelling; Under the Licensing By-Law, Schedule 31: A building or part thereof containing five or more self-contained Dwelling Units.
  • A hotel, motel, inn or bed and breakfast; tourist home, lodging house or short-term rental or
  • A Rental Housing Unit to which any of the following statutes, or their regulations, apply
    • The Homes for Special Care Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H. 12, as amended;
    • The Inkeepers Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.17, as amended
    • The Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, S.O. 2007, c.8, as amended;
    • The Retirement Homes Act, 2010, S.O. 2010, c. 11, as amended
    • The Social Housing Reform Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c, 27 as amended;

And

  • Social housing or affordable housing that is not subject to Social Housing Reform Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c.27, as amended, but which is subject to an agreement with the City of Hamilton and which has been approved for exemption by the Director of Health and Safe Communities.

Application requirements, fees and process

To apply for a rental housing licence, property owners will need to submit:

  • Completed Business Licence Application Form (PDF, 245 KB)
  • 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 ($2 million per occurrence)
  • Proof of Property Ownership
  • Certificate of Compliance Application (PDF, 248 KB)
  • 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 (PDF, 129 KB)
  • 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 confirming the Rental Housing Unit and its proposed use complies with the Electrical Safety Code, O. Reg. 164/99. Documentation is the responsibility of the property owner to obtain. Fees are the responsibility of the property owner.
  • Self-Certification Checklist (PDF, 71 KB) as per the by-law.
  • Certificate of Zoning Verification from the City of Hamilton. Fees are the responsibility of the property owner. Learn more about Zoning Verifications
  • Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) inspection is required. ESAs are done by a 3rd party service provider. Property owners are responsible for arranging the inspection and the applicable fees.

How to apply

  • 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.
  • Once you receive your file number, you can pay your business licence fee online

Please refer to the Business Licence Reference Guide (PDF, 779 KB) 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.

You can pay your business licence fee online.

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)
Department 1st Year 2nd year Frequency
Licensing & By-Law Services $156.38 $156.38

Annual

Building (Zoning Verification)

$268.50

  One-time
Fire Inspection

$278.14
($246.14 + HST $32)

$278.14
($246.14 + HST $32)

Annual

TOTAL $703.02 $434.52 Annual
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.

  1. 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 (PDF, 71 KB) on what is investigated during an inspection.
  2. 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 (PDF, 107 KB) 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.
  3. 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.

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.

Contact us

Licensing (Licensing inquiries & to report possible rental housing unit(s))
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 905-546-2782, option 3

Zoning including secondary dwelling units
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext 2719

Building Permits
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 905-546-2720 

Fire
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 905 546-2424 ext 1380