How many international students can you fit into a Brampton house? Twenty-five, city bylaw inspectors have found.

A recent inspection by the Greater Toronto Area city’s bylaw department discovered a startling case of overcrowding and substandard living conditions where 25 international students were crowded into a house with two rental units. 

The students were residing in what Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown originally referred to as a single basement apartment, but was later confirmed to be a house with two legally rented units.

“Right now, we see international students living in fire traps, extremely dangerous living conditions. And if the colleges took the time to build student housing, we wouldn’t have that issue,” Brown said.

He further expressed concern over the prevalence of such situations, estimating there are as many as 100,000 people in illegal units.

Brown said the city is actively working to enforce its landlord registration program to crack down on the problem and ensure the safety and well-being of its residents.

The plight of international students and their impact on the housing market has become a pressing matter at both the provincial and federal levels of government. 

Last week, the Ontario government mandated that postsecondary schools secure accommodation for any international students they want to take on. 

Simultaneously, the federal government revealed plans to limit the duration of study and announced a two-year cap on the number of visas. 

These measures are a direct response to the growing concerns about the quality and affordability of available housing.

Brampton’s Residential Rental Licensing pilot project, initiated last year to regulate and inspect approximately 16,000 illegal units, has faced opposition from some residents and landlords. 

Critics argue that the program is costly, cumbersome and unfair. A petition circulating against the initiative highlights concerns such as financial burdens, difficulties in obtaining required documents, conflicts with the existing Residential Tenancies Act,and the potential negative impact on the housing market in Brampton.

This article has been edited to reflect updated comments from Brampton officials about the number of units in the building in question.