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Housing and Homelessness

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will I have to wait for rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidy?

Generally, people are offered housing on a first-come, first-served basis. Since there are currently about 5,400 households on Durham’s wait list for subsidy, it can take several years before you receive an offer. We encourage people to apply before their situation becomes desperate and to select as many places as possible where they really want to live.

You should also keep your application information up-to-date. If you have a change in income, family composition or move, you should let Durham Access to Social Housing (DASH) know as soon as possible, as this might alter your status on the waiting list. Always update your application with accurate contact information to avoid missing out on an offer of subsidy and possibly having your name removed from the list.

Do you have any vacant subsidized housing?

Subsidies become available throughout the year. When a subsidized unit becomes available, the housing provider calls DASH and is provided with the names and contact information of the households at the top of the list for that site. If your name is at the top of the list, the housing provider will call you to arrange to view the vacant unit. Although there are often units that appear to be sitting vacant, the units may be vacant to allow for repair work and new tenants sometimes take time to move in.

We are being evicted. What can we do?

There are Housing Outreach workers that can help you with either saving the tenancy or helping you to find other accommodations. Should you require emergency accommodation, you can contact the appropriate service provider who will provide you with support while you seek new housing.

How can I apply for RGI housing? Do you have applications online?

Applications for RGI subsidies are managed through DASH and can be found online. They must be printed and completed manually, then submitted by mail or in person at a DASH office. At this time, applications cannot be submitted online, and only original applications complete with a signed consent form are being accepted.

I want to apply for market rent.

Market rent units become available throughout the year. If you wish to apply for a market rent unit, please contact the appropriate housing provider directly. These vacancies are not managed through DASH.

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I want to apply for affordable housing units.

Affordable housing units are funded through the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program. In order to qualify, your income must be below the specified income rates for each property. Rates vary by municipality. To find out about current vacancies, rental rates and the application process, contact the landlord directly.

Where are you located, and what are your hours?

Housing Services is located on the first floor of Regional Headquarters at 605 Rossland Rd. E., Whitby. Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. There is designated visitors parking at both the Garden Street and Rossland Road entrances.

Is there any new subsidized housing being built?

Funding has been provided by the federal and provincial governments for the development of 160 units of new rental housing in Durham Region through the Canada-Ontario Investment in Affordable Housing. These units will be a mix of subsidized, affordable and full-market rent accommodations.

Is there anywhere that can help me with paying my rent?

The Housing Stability Program helps low-income tenants, who are usually able to afford their rent, but, as a result of an unexpected financial hardship, are unable to pay their rent for one or two months. There is also assistance for qualified Durham residents with short-term energy arrears through the Housing Stability Program.

What should I do—my building or unit requires repairs?

You should first talk to the landlord and let them know what the problems are. It is helpful to put all problems in writing and give this to the landlord, or the person that takes care of these problems (e.g. the superintendent or property manager).

If, after being informed, the landlord does not fix the problem within a reasonable time, or refuses to do the repairs, you have options for addressing the situation. If the repair is serious and poses a potential health hazard, you can also contact the by-law or building standards departments for your local municipality to have them conduct an inspection. Please visit the Landlord and Tenant Board website or contact a Housing Outreach Worker for more information.

We have mould in our unit and the landlord will not do anything, who do we call?

Mould is not necessarily considered a health hazard. However, the landlord may have a responsibility to fix the problem if it is caused by something malfunctioning in your unit. You can call the Region of Durham’s Environmental Health Line at 905-723-3818 (or toll-free at 1-888-777-9613) ext. 2188, or visit the Health Department website for more information on mould.

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There is a dog/cat running loose, who do we call?

If there are loose animals on or near your property, you can report this information to your local animal services:

How is subsidized rent calculated?

Each household’s RGI subsidy is calculated based on a formula provided within the “Social Housing Reform Act”. Basically, subsidized rent is calculated at 30 per cent of the household’s total gross income. Income from the National Child Benefit System is excluded from the calculation.

For households receiving income from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, the rent is based on the number of people living in the unit who are receiving social assistance. Depending on whether utilities are included in the rent, there may be additional charges or deductions to this rent calculation.

How much will my rent change each year?

Increases and decreases to your rent are based on changes to your household income. You must report changes to the household income immediately, and some households must report their income every three months. The rental rate is reviewed at least once per year.

Can I lose my subsidy once I receive a unit?

The RGI subsidy depends on your household remaining eligible. In order to stay eligible, you must report all changes to your financial situation and the number of persons residing in your unit. Failure to report could cause you to lose your subsidy, and the rent will increase to the market rate.

If I accept a unit, can I stay on the list for another one?

Once you receive RGI accommodations, your name is removed from the waiting list. You may choose to re-apply at any time for a transfer. This is done by contacting your current housing provider and requesting a transfer.

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I’m a single person, but I really prefer a two-bedroom unit. Is that okay?

The Region of Durham has a policy regarding occupancy standards. The policy provides for one bedroom per person, except for couples, who are expected to share a bedroom.

Can I keep my pet if I move into a subsidized unit?

Non-profit and public housing buildings are governed by the “Residential Tenancies Act”, which does not allow pets to be banned from a building. However, your pet must not interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of the property by other tenants, or you could risk eviction. Co-operative housing corporations are not required to follow these rules. Each co-op may have their own policies about pets, including extra charges.

What’s the difference between non-profit and co-operative housing?

Many of Durham’s non-profit and co-operative housing corporations are required to abide by the “Housing Services Act, 2011”. Each receives subsidies from the Region and are required to report their financial position annually. These corporations are not owned or operated by the Region. They are usually run by a board of directors, and have property managers or property management companies looking after the day-to-day issues.

Non-profit boards are usually composed of people from the broader community, while the people who live in co-operatives are considered to be members and elect the board from within the membership. Co-operative housing providers must follow the “Co-operative Corporations Act” and some portions of the “Residential Tenancies Act”.

Members in housing co-operatives are expected to contribute to the community by participating on committees and at social events. Most co-operatives offer orientation sessions for prospective applicants when they’re getting close to the top of their waiting list, so they will fully understand the benefits and responsibilities of living in a housing co-operative.

I live in a market rent unit in a non-profit building, but can’t afford the rent. What can I do?

The Region of Durham has a policy regarding applicants already living in non-profit and co-operative buildings funded by the Region. You should speak to your property manager if you’ve had a sudden, unexpected change in household income to see if you might qualify for the waiting list with priority.

My landlord is not treating me fairly. Who can I speak to about this?

If you are a social housing tenant/member and you are unable to speak with the property manager, write to the board of directors and request a meeting to discuss your concerns. If you are a tenant of Durham Regional Local Housing Corporation, you can speak with the Manager, Housing Operations. If you are living in a private rental building, you may want to contact the Durham Community Legal Clinic to find out if the landlord's actions are legal.

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