People living near homes that are being converted into dormitories housing as many as 20 residents want the city to get tougher on developers who push these kinds of projects.

Russ Williams lives in Old Ottawa South, next to 167 Aylmer Ave., what is now a shell of a three-storey building.

"We were told a 19-bedroom unit, for independent, unrelated adults to reside in," said Williams.

The house is a so-called conversion house, where developers gut and extend existing homes, creating a number of separate apartments, often with as many as five bedrooms each.

Students or short-term renters are the typical tenants for the homes, which, because of their high occupancy, can net nearly $12,000 in rent a month.

Bylaws to be reviewed

Jeff Walker in the Glebe has a 20-bedroom house being built beside his home on Fourth Avenue.

Both Walker and Williams said developers used existing bylaws to their advantage, which require public input on new buildings, but not for existing buildings that are reconfigured.


187 Fourth Ave. is also undergoing extensive renovations and extensions to convert it into a multi-dwelling building. (Ryan Gibson/CBC)

"Developers figured out how to make a lot of money, that enable them to fundamentally change the nature of the neighbourhoods," said Walker.

In April, the city put a hold on new conversion projects to review the bylaws, but 11 existing projects, including 167 Aylmer Ave. and 187 Fourth Ave., were allowed to continue.

Walker hopes after the six-month review, the city gets tougher on developers and puts a stop to the practice.

"Do we really want it to be that it more transient housing that dominate and take over one by one?" he asked.