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Occupancy By-Law: Bedrooms Vs. Dens

Dear Neighbours, 

as you may know, By-Law 13 (the Organizational By-Law) was registered and adopted as of November 18, 2016, following a vote of Owners. Once the majority of Owners passed the By-Law, the Corporation began enforcing it. A particularly important part of this By-Law is the Occupancy Standard portion, which states that the Corporation has the right to charge additional funds (as maintenance fees) to those who are over their standard occupancy limit.

This survey is intended as an educational opportunity for residents, as well as an explanation of the multi-faceted challenges and restrictions that the Board faced when deciding whether dens qualify as sleeping areas, and, finally, an opportunity for OWNER feedback.

According to our Declaration, Article 6 defines an Occupancy Standard as "the maximum number of persons entitled to Reside in a unit, based upon the City of Toronto’s maximum occupancy for which the Corporation’s building was designed, as determined by the registered Description for the Corporation and by the “occupancy load” established in the Ontario Building Code 0. Reg. 403/97, s. or as amended hereafter) which requires that no more than two persons per sleeping room or sleeping area shall reside in a dwelling unit."

As you can see, according to the Ontario Building Code, the norm is two people per sleeping room/area. A common question that we, The Board of Directors, regularly receive is... "What counts as a sleeping space?"

To answer this question, we again turn to our Declaration, which states that a "'Sleeping room' or 'sleeping area' means any bedroom, study, den or other room designated as a sleeping room or sleeping area by the board of directors of the Corporation from time to time in a dwelling unit in accordance with the architectural plans forming part of the Corporation’s registered description, but shall exclude a kitchen, dining room, living room, family room, solarium, bathroom, foyer, lobby, closet, laundry room, utility room, pantry and balcony, unless any such excluded room is designated as a sleeping room or sleeping area by the board of directors from time to time."

Of course, bedrooms count as a sleeping space; however, what about dens and/or studies?

The Board of Directors looked into whether dens and/or studies would (and should) qualify as a "sleeping room" or "sleeping area". To do so, we examined the various laws and codes, such as the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and the Ontario Fire Code. We also spoke to the Developer, Elad, and inquired as to what occupancy the building and its facilities (ex: elevators, as well as staircases and emergency plans) were planned and built for.

When examining the OBC's standards (OBC Areas of Bedrooms)(OBC Article Window Area), we found out that none of the dens in the building meet the OBC's requirements that could classify dens as a sleeping area. Furthermore, when looking at the Ontario Fire Code, it was confirmed both by the OFC (OFC Interconnected Fire Alarms) and our Fire Inspector that none of the dens have the correct smoke alarm system positioning to qualify dens as sleeping areas.

Lastly, the Board consulted with the Developer, and asked how they calculated building occupancy capacity when deciding on matters such as the number of necessary elevators, emergency evacuation plans, general wear and tear on the building, and maintenance fees. The Developer's representative confirmed that the occupancy was based on two people per bedroom, and that dens had been excluded from their calculations when establishing the standard building occupancy. 

In fact, if all dens were considered sleeping areas, it would allow for increasing the population of the building by 506 people (from a capacity of 1,238 people to 1,744), which is a significant increase of 41%. This would place an incredible burden on elevators, amenities, and unit consumption (such as water), ultimately surging maintenance fees by a large amount for all unit owners as the additional costs of consumables must be accounted for. In fact, the aforementioned additional costs are what residents who are over occupancy are being charged. This system ensures that those who use additional goods and services pay their fair share rather than distributing the costs to the owners who are not over their suite's occupancy limit.


As previously stated, the requirements of the Ontario Building Code are not met in regards to classifying a den as a "sleeping space" or a "sleeping area", and neither are the requirements of the Ontario Building Code. Furthermore, the building was not designed to accommodate the number of residents that allocating dens as sleeping areas would require. 

Most importantly, the Board must uphold the laws, which include the Ontario Building Code and Ontario Fire Code. We simply do not have the authority to contravene either the OBC or the OFC, and in fact, the Corporation and its representatives can be held liable if we do. We also cannot, in good conscience, add a significant burden of 41% to the building, as it was only designed for a maximum capacity of 1,238 people which is based on two people per bedroom.

In conclusion, we hope that you understand why dens do not meet the requirements necessary of a "sleeping space" or a "sleeping area", and why the Board does not have the authority to designate them as such.


(please note that this survey is limited to Owners only. Any non-owner responses will be disqualified.)

After reading the above explanations and reasoning as to why dens cannot qualify as a sleeping area according to the OBC, OFC, and Building Design (and costs), do you agree or disagree with the Board's decision that dens should not be designated for sleeping? *This question is required.
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