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Residential Rental Licences

A row of houses

The City of Waterloo's residential rental housing licensing by-law (no. 2011-047) give us the ability to manage low-rise residential rental housing in the City.

It balances the needs of property owners with those of residents looking for safe, adequate and properly maintained rental accommodation, while limiting the impact of large rental housing units on residential neighbourhoods.

Under this program, landlords must apply for a licence and renew it annually by April 1. If a rental property sells, the new owner must apply for a new licence, which includes getting all the necessary documentation and inspections.

Visit the frequently asked questions pages for more information.


Residential Rental Licence applications are available in person using this application. Only completed applications, including all supporting documentation, will be processed.

To request a sample rental application package, please contact Municipal Enforcement Services by calling 519-747-8785 or sending an email to

Once the application is complete, please bring all your documentation to the enforcement office on the first floor of City Hall at 100 Regina St. S. in Waterloo. Applications for Rental Housing Licences and renewal applications for existing licences can also be submitted online.

Supporting documents

  • Police criminal record check (issued within six months of the date of application)
  • Electrical Safety Authority ElecCheck Certificate (issued within 6 months of the date of application)
  • HVAC certificate (issued within six months of the date of application)
  • Insurance certificate
  • Floor plan
  • Parking plan
  • Proof of ownership (transfer agreement or deed)
  • Property maintenance plan


This handout outlines the rental licensing fees, including initial application and renewal fees. We accept cash, debit, cheque or money order methods of payment for in-person applications. Please make your cheque or money order payable to the City of Waterloo.


If you believe someone is violating the Residential Rental Housing Licensing By-law and would like to file a complaint, please contact us online or by calling 519-747-8785.

Rental housing renewal - five year licensing cycle update 

Properties that have been licensed since 2012 will have completed a five (5) year licensing cycle when the license expires on March 31, 2017. The city's rental housing licensing by-law contains a provision that may require certain documentation, such as the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) inspection, that was required when you first applied for a licence, to be resubmitted once every five years.

As you may be aware, the city is undertaking a review of certain aspects of the program to identify potential improvements. Please be advised that in light of this review, the city will not be requiring a new ESA inspection report for your April 1, 2017 renewal application. 

Schedule 6, section 2 of the rental housing licensing by-law indicates that the following documents may also be  required upon renewal every five (5) years:

  • a completed police records check for the owner and the applicant (if different from the owner);
  • a parking plan;
  • a floor plan of the rental unit; and
  • a property maintenance plan.

Taking into account the current review of the rental housing licensing by-law, a parking plan, floor plan and property maintenance plan are only required at this time if you have made changes to the property within the last five years to which the above would apply and thus require updated documents to be submitted with your renewal. If you have not made any changes to the property from the first submission of your original licence application, kindly submit a statement with your renewal indicating particulars to the effect as follows:

"I (we) certify that changes have not been made to the licensed property since the submission of our original rental licence application and do not, at this time, need to submit a parking plan, a floor plan and a property maintenance plan with the renewal of the rental licence." 

A completed police records check, as per the requirements in the rental housing licensing by-law, is still required to be submitted with your renewal. Additionally, updated insurance and HVAC certificate and report are also required to be submitted with your renewal application, as it is with each renewal.

In the event that you have undertaken any renovations within your rental property that may have impacted the electrical system, you are required by the ESA to obtain the required approvals and inspections, above and beyond any requirements in the city's rental licensing by-law.

For any questions, please feel free to contact us at (519) 747-8587 or by email at

Report on impact of code protected groups

In January 2014, the city entered into an agreement with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) following a series of discussions relating to concerns with certain provisions of the rental housing licensing by-law. The concerns related to the potential impacts on code-protected groups resulting from the provisions of the by-law that regulate per person bedroom floor area requirements. 

As a result of the series of discussions with the OHRC, the city entered into an agreement that resulted in the by-law being amended to remove some of the subject provisions. Further, the city agreed to prepare a report that discussed the potential impacts of the by-law's remaining per person bedroom floor area requirements on code-protected groups.

The report was completed by a consultant with experience with human rights and housing issues, Gladki Planning Associates Inc., as was identified in the city's agreement with the OHRC.

The consultant recommends that the city review the per person gross floor area provisions to determine if they are still necessary. As such, staff will be reviewing this by-law provision as part of the five year review of the rental licensing by-law and program, currently underway. 

The link to the city's report is below:

Report on impact of code protected groups

If you require an accessible version, please contact Municipal Enforcement Services.

More information

The following pages have more information on the rental housing licensing program: