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Toronto’s proposed short-term rental rules headed to council

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Toronto’s proposal for licensing and regulating short-term rentals is headed to City Council on Dec. 5 after being considered by the Licensing and Standards Committee last week. If approved, the bylaw to implement the new rules is slated to take effect June 1, 2018, provided that accompanying zoning changes are in effect by that date.

The proposal looks much the same as it did when it was first introduced by City staff late last spring. Short-term rentals, which are defined as stays of 28 straight days or less, would be limited to principal residences. Only owners and tenants would be able to operate short-term rentals, not corporations. (In keeping with this, the proposal now includes a cap of 180 nights per year on the short-term rental of entire units.) These operators would have to register with the City, and the companies that facilitate short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, would have to maintain a licence with the City.

New details have become available, such as proposed registration and licensing fees as well as fines for violating the bylaw. Operators are looking at paying $50 per year to remain registered with the City and short-term rental companies are looking at paying a one-time application fee of $5,000 to get a licence, plus a fee of $1 per night booked. Anyone who is convicted of an offence under the bylaw could face a fine of up to $100,000 if the proposal succeeds in its current form. The proposal also sets a deadline of 24 hours following notification from the City for companies to remove ads for unregistered short-term rentals.

Coun. Jim Karygiannis put forward a motion at the Licensing and Standards Committee that would have required short-term rental operators in condos to obtain the consent of their neighbours on the same floor, but the motion failed. The failed motion also called for operators to be present for the duration of the short-term rental, to provide proof of home ownership and residency, and to provide authorization from the homeowner in cases where the tenant is offering the short-term rental.

The accompanying zoning bylaw changes to permit short-term rentals were successfully amended to exclude secondary suites when they were considered at the Planning and Growth Management Committee last week. The zoning bylaw changes also head to City Council Dec. 5.

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