Regulate U of T fraternity, sorority houses as multi-tenant properties, neighbours tell city
Coun. Joe Cressy says fraternity, sorority houses should follow fire and safety codes
Neighbours who are sick of the noise and garbage coming from University of Toronto fraternity and sorority houses are demanding that the city regulate them as multi-tenant properties, and their local councillor is echoing their concerns.
"In the city of Toronto, multi-tenant houses have to register with the city and as part of doing that what that means is they need to have fire safety plans and be up to fire code, said Coun. Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina).
"It means they have to have property management plan in place around garbage and storage."
The city defines multi-tenant houses as dwellings where four or more people pay individual rent and share common spaces like the kitchen and washrooms.
Currently, fraternity and sorority houses operate like any other homes in the neighbourhood.
"Fundamentally, this is just about safety, safety for people who live in these houses as well as ensuring they are good neighbours," said Cressy. "I have a hard time seeing why anybody in their right minds would object to this."
In a statement emailed to CBC Toronto, Adam Carson, a representative of the fraternity and sorority property owners, said, "Our members will continue to abide by the same laws and bylaws as our fellow community neighbours just as we have for over one hundred years."
David Sterns, who has lived in the Annex neighbourhood for more than a decade, says loud late night parties and piles of garbage are a regular occurrence when it comes to frat and sorority houses, and calling the police when things get out of control doesn't always work.
"They've got the cat-and-mouse game with the police down to an art," he said. "Police come by and things quiet down for a while ...They ignore basic minimum standards of neighbourhood conduct. They conduct themselves in either indifference or open defiance of their neighbours."
Sterns, who lives near one of the properties, says he would like to see frat and sorority houses follow fire and safety codes, as well as have a sanitation plan.
"If you take a look at the back of that house, you'll see garbage piled up with bags, red cups, mattresses you name it. That's been there for many, many, months," he said.
Sarah Mceathron, who also lives in the neighbourhood, says it can get noisy some nights.
"Most weekends and weekdays there are red cups all over the sidewalk that you have to kick your way through," she said.
Cressy says an exemption currently exists for registered fraternities and sororities that are part of some national or international affiliate, but he says it's time that changes.
"It's not an extra level of oversight. This is what every other multi-tenant house in the city has to abide by and for decades fraternities have been exempt," he said.
"It's just long overdue that they play by the same rules as everybody else."