Committees approve regulations for short-term rentals across Ottawa

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Ottawa is one step closer to establishing the regulations that will govern short-term rentals across the city for the next three years. At a joint meeting today, the City’s Planning Committee and Community and Protective Services Committee approved a new by-law that would establish a host permit system for local short-term rental hosts, as well as rules for short-term rental platforms and property managers. The Committees also approved revised zoning needed to implement the new by-law.

City Council approved a strategy in November 2019 asking staff to develop regulations for short-term rentals. In line with that strategy, the proposed by-law and zoning would be in place for a three-year trial period to address community nuisance issues and concerns around public health and safety. To protect housing inventory for Ottawa residents, the regulations restrict short-term rentals to principal residences in urban residential zones and rural villages.

Short-term rentals outside an operator’s principal residence would only be permitted in certain rural areas, outside of villages. Such properties would be defined separately as cottage rentals and could be permitted within rural vacation homes, cottages, secondary suites and coach houses in rural areas where they would have minimal impact on land use and housing inventory.

The by-law places the bulk of accountability on the local host, as a resident in the community. They would need to obtain a host permit from the City, proving the property being rented is their principal residence. Hosts would need to provide guests with instructions about waste management, parking, community nuisances and safety, and have valid insurance that specifically covers short-term rental activity.

Violations of the by-law may result in fines for both guests and host. The by-law would enable the City to issue fines up to $100,000 each day that an offence occurs. In addition, the City could suspend or revoke a host permit for violating the by-law. To help enforce the by-law, the City would hire six temporary full-time equivalent positions, funded on a cost-recovery basis through user fees and the Municipal Accommodation Tax.

The day began with a meeting of the Planning Committee, which approved two zoning amendments on lands occupied or formerly occupied by churches. In both cases, the amendments would change zoning from institutional to residential zoning.

In College Ward, the applicant at 2112 Bel-Air Drive would add 27 two-storey townhouses on the vacant property that once housed the St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church. In the Glebe, the applicant would add three detached dwellings and an 18-unit stacked dwelling at the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Monk Street, replacing an existing church and assembly hall.

Recommendations from both of today’s meetings will rise to Council on Wednesday, April 28.

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