frat house toronto

Toronto might crack down on frat houses

As the university school year begins in Toronto, the city might impose new regulations on how frat houses operate. 

City councillors want to know if new rules for fraternities and sororities can help address pain points affiliated with frat houses like garbage buildup, loud noise, and low property maintenance standards.

The city's Executive Committee will be voting on a series of recommendations at the end of this month that, if approved, would require all sorority and frat houses to be licensed as rooming (or "multi-tenant") houses, with no exemptions.

"For many years, a number of fraternity houses in neighbourhoods adjacent to the University of Toronto have been identified as sites of increasingly problematic behaviour," wrote Ward 20 councillor Joe Cressy in a letter to the committee earlier this year.

 "I have been advised that fraternities and sororities operate outside of the formal University framework," he continued, "and thus exist in a grey area regarding disciplinary action and appropriate follow-up after incidents and in cases of ongoing negative and problematic behaviour."

A working committee has since been investigating the feasibility of removing such student houses from Section 285-8 of the Municipal Code, which exempts them from such things as needing to hold a license, post fire safety plans, or allow spot inspections.

"Licensing these houses not only provides the City with a mechanism to effectively respond to these concerns, but also entitles those who live in the houses a guarantee that their living environments meet building code and safety standard requirements," wrote Cressy. 

"Without a proper regulatory framework, fraternity and sorority houses post a risk not just to residents, but to those who live in and visit them."

As of right now, licenses are not legally required for residential buildings that contain more than three rooms and house more than three "students who are members of a bona fide nationally or internationally chartered student fraternity or sorority."

If that changes, fraternities and sororities will have to apply for a licence – and agree to all of the city's rules pertaining to safety, fees, and h0w much toilet paper must be kept in the house at any given time (enough to do the job, according to our municipal code.)

Student organizations that apply and are rejected from living near campus could very well be forced to find lodging elsewhere. 

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil


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