What Condo Boards Should Know About New Short-Term Rental Laws

New short-term rental laws

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Most condo boards followed the ongoing struggle between “ghost hotels” operating through services such as Airbnb and housing advocates dead set against them. Following a battle that began in 2016, the advocates finally won out. On September 3, 2020, new laws cracking down on Toronto short-term rentals came into effect. New regulations now restrict short-term rentals to principal residences only. Here’s what your condo board should know about short-term rentals, with tips on dealing with the new regulations.

The New Short-Term Rental Regulations

Short-term rentals last less than 28 consecutive days. The new regulations applying to short-term rentals include:

  • Only those wishing to rent out either their entire primary residence or up to three rooms in that residence can become short-term landlords. (Note this includes principal long-term renters, not just owners of condo units)
  • All short-term rentals must register with the city
  • All short-term rentals must show their unique number assigned by the city when advertising their homes for rent including those listed on sites such as Airbnb or Hotels.com
  • Fines for breaking the rules range from $300 to $1000
  • An annual fee of $50 applies for registry
  • A 4 percent Municipal Accommodation Tax charged to owners on a quarterly basis begins January 2020

Airbnb must ensure all Toronto listings use a city assigned unique number to help trace possible issues. However, the city is ultimately responsible for enforcing the new rules.

Condo Board Tips for Dealing with Short-Term Rentals

Your board should consider the following tips:

  • Your Bylaws and Regulations Still Apply: As you know, condominium corporations have the right to introduce their own bylaws regarding short-term rentals. This includes prohibiting them. If your condo does ban short-term rentals, be sure the wording of your bylaw does not provide a loophole making it possible for owners and/or renters to rent out their principal residence.
  • Multi-Use Condo Complex Short-term Rentals Unclear: The new regulations do not address condo corporations set up and approved by the city to operate as multi-use complexes. If your condo corporation is such complex, you might want to seek legal advice to clarify how the new short-term rental regulations apply.
  • Prepare for More Sales and Renters: The numbers show an increase in former short-term rental condo units selling or switching to long-term rental models. In response, update your welcome package outlining condo bylaws and rules regarding short-term rentals. This ensures newcomers understand the policies from day one.
  • Keep Residents Up to Date: Send out a communication to keep residents up to date on the new rules, including short-term rental regulations. Encourage them to share suspicions of short-term rental units so the board can deal with offenders. As well, residents can call 311 to report issues if they suspect illegal short-term rentals or witness unsafe, “nuisance” behaviour by short-term renters.

Sharing updates regarding short-term rentals and your bylaws helps ensure everyone follows regulations. You can also help keep the peace for your condo community.

The Toronto property management experts at CPO Management Inc. – full service property management services company in Toronto and the GTA and specializing in condo corporations, can assist with advising on short-term rental regulations. Speak to us today.

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