On February 13, 2023, the City of Windsor announced its new Residential Rental Licensing pilot study contained in By-law Number 14-2023 (the “By-Law”). The program is designed to protect the health and safety of individuals living in rental properties, ensure certain regulations are met, provide plumbing, heating, and water, avoid creating a nuisance in the neighborhood and protect the residential amenity, character, and stability of residential areas. The By-Law sets out definitions and establishes licensing requirements for certain rental properties, including inspection and reporting obligations. The By-Law also includes provisions for fines and penalties for non-compliance and the prohibition of the continuation or repetition of the offense.

The By-Law is a pilot study that is set to last for a period of two (2) years and is limited to rental houses in Ward 1 and Ward 2 in the City of Windsor.


The By-Law prohibits any person from doing any of the following without a Licence issued by the City of Windsor:

  1. Operating a Rental Housing Unit;
  2. Permit a person to operate a Rental Housing Unit;
  3. Collecting Rent, or permit Rent to be collected, for a Rental Housing Unit;
  4. Marketing, or permit to be Marketed, a Rental Housing Unit; or
  5. Hold a Rental Housing Unit out as being licensed.

What properties does the prohibition apply to?

A “Rental Housing Unit” is defined as a Dwelling Unit which is occupied or offered for occupancy in exchange for Rent or services in lieu of paying Rent. A “Dwelling Unit” means a room or suite of rooms in a Building[1] used or designed to be used by one (1) or more individuals as an independent and separate housekeeping unit.

The term “Operate” means to rent out, provide, offer to rent out or provide, or cause to be Marketed[2], the offer or rental, whether directly or indirectly, including, without limitation, via the internet or other electronic platform, of a Rental Housing Unit and shall include a person collecting a fee or handling payments in respect of a Rental Housing Unit.

Are there any exemptions?

Any properties not located within Wards 1 and 2 of the City of Windsor would be exempt from the License requirements. The By-Law also contains certain properties that will not be required to obtain a License.

These properties include:

Who must apply for a License?

The By-Law applies to all properties within Wards 1 and 2 of the City of Windsor, which include:

  1. Owners of a Rental Housing Unit;
  2. Operators of a Rental Housing Unit; and
  3. Dwelling Units used or intended to be used as a Rental Housing Unit.

The term “Operator” means any person who operates, maintains, or is otherwise responsible for managing or addressing issues in relation to a Rental Housing Unit but is not an Owner. This would include property management companies or representatives of a landlord (i.e., family members of the Owner).

It is important to note that existing owners of properties being rented in Wards 1 and 2 are required to apply for a License. The By-Law applies also applies to new build properties that will be tenanted within Wards 1 and 2.

In order to apply for a License, you must:

  1. Be at least eighteen (18) years of age;
  2. Complete an application form and attach additional documents required by the License Commissioner;
  3. Submit their completed application to the Licence Commissioner; and
  4. Pay the applicable fee.

Additional documents that are required with the License application include:

It is important to note that a separate License is required for EACH Rental Housing Unit.


How do I submit a License application?

All applications must be submitted in person by the applicant or an Authorized Agent with written authority provided by the Applicant. The person submitting the application must present two (2) forms of government issued identification, one being photo and the other demonstrating proof of status in Canada.

To submit the License application, you must attend the Licensing Division located at:

Suite 110 – 350 City Hall Square West
Windsor, Ontario, N9A 6S1

Is there a deadline to apply for a License?

Yes, the deadline to apply submit the license applications is Wednesday, May 31, 2023. Applications are beginning to be accepted as of February 14, 2023.

How long does a License last?

Every Licence issued expires on May 31 of the year following issuance. In other words, if a License is obtained on November 1, 2023, it would still expire, and required a renewal application, by May 31, 2023.

How much are the License fees?

The License Application Fee is $466 for each NEW License. A License Renewal Fee of $275 is required to be submitted with the License application form, which is provided to the License Commissioner in the same manner as the original License application.

Key Resources:

Disclaimer: The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information contained herein may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  This document contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; simplyclose does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites. Readers should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. 

Author: Christian Janisse, MBA, JD

Real Estate Lawyer

[email protected]

[1] The term “Building” is broadly defined as a structure, whether permanent or temporary, with walls or a roof or part thereof, used or intended to be used for shelter, accommodation or enclosure of persons, animals, goods or chattels.

[2]Market”, “Marketed” or “Marketing” means offering, facilitating, or causing or permitting to offer or facilitate, directly or indirectly, the sale, promotion, canvassing, solicitation, advertising, or marketing of part or all of a Rental Housing Unit, and includes placing, posting or erecting advertisements physically or online.

[3] “Property” means a Building, and includes the lands and premises appurtenant thereto, and includes vacant property.

[4] The wording in this section suggests that the occupant need only to share a (singular) bathroom or a kitchen. Thus, if only a kitchen is shared and bathroom(s) are not, then the exemption could apply. Similarly, if the Building (not the Dwelling Unit) contain a single shared bathroom, then this exemption could apply.

[5] This assessment is only required for new application and every five (5) years on renewal.

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