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Review planned, enforcement ends on roommate bylaw for Regina homeowners

Bylaw to be reviewed in July
Reported by Patrick Book
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Regina's mayor is doing an about-face on rooming houses after a Regina man found out his roommates were illegal.

On Tuesday when the story of the so-called "illegal roommates" popped up, Michael Fougere said the City has no choice but to enforce bylaw complaints.

Now, as a guest of John Gormley Live, he backed off that statement.

“There will be no enforcement of that bylaw until at least after the review in July and maybe even after that. We don’t know that yet,” said Fougere.

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At least one homeowner in the city's south end received a letter threatening fines and possible jail time if he doesn't move out or kick out his roommates.

Fougere says the letter that went out to Al Maier saying he had to kick out his roommates was "sent in error" by an overzealous city staffer.

"It's unfortunate these letters went out," said Fougere.

Fougere said people taking in roommates in a city with such a tiny rental market are a big help.

The bylaw that will be reviewed is a zoning bylaw passed in 1992.

That bylaw defines a "rooming house" as "a building that is the primary residence of the owner and in which rooming units are provided by the owner, for permanent occupancy and compensation, to persons not related by blood, marriage, or adoption to the owner."

The law expressly forbids anyone from running a "rooming house" without first being granted a permit meaning someone renting a room to a friend or stranger to help make ends meet without first getting a permit is breaking the law.

There are exceptions, however, according to Diana Hawryluk, the director of planning and sustainability for the city. In three areas of Regina – R4 and R4A zoning districts and the transitional and core areas of the city – rooming houses are permitted. An R4 zoning area would be an older residential zone and R4A refers to residential infill housing zones.

Edited by CJME's Karen Brownlee