image: cottage shoreline, dock with Canada flag

Responsible Cottage Rental

What FOCA sees: FOCA recognizes that occasional rental of our cottage properties has become a financial reality for some cottage owners. We hear from members interested in finding out about how to rent (and how to insure for rental), and also from those who have been frustrated by experiences with poorly-managed rental properties in their vicinity.

FOCA supports a philosophy of responsible use, that encourages cottage owners to:

  • educate and inform guests about cottage country living and etiquette (see link to a sample visitor information sheet, below in Resources)
  • work with neighbours to promote harmonious relationships
  • be environmental stewards by ensuring the sustainable use of cottage properties, recognizing the limits of the existing septic system, road capacity and other community considerations.

News

July 23, 2022 – How short-term vacation rentals are ruining the neighbourhood (Sudbury.com)

July 10, 2022 – Sales in Ontario’s cottage country have slowed, but the rental market remains strong (Globe & Mail)

Friday, June 24, 2022 – Short-term cottage rentals in Seguin? Township volleys issue back for public weigh-in (Parry Sound North Star) – STR remain banned following 2020 consultations, but a split decision by council on June 20 means the public gets to weigh in again via www.letsconnectseguin.ca.

June 9, 2022 – Short-term rental operators in Grand Bend upset with new rules (Sarnia NewsToday.ca)

June 8, 2022 – Tiny Township council has directed enforcement officers to operate on a zero tolerance mandate (i.e., no warnings) related to by-law infraction issues related to STR where evidence supports a charge against the landowner and the renter. Currently, the Township does not regulate STR, acknowledging that traditionally many residents have seasonally rented their cottages.

May 28, 2022 – Will investor outcry sway city hall on rules for Airbnb, other short-term rentals? City hall is doubling down on proposed new rules to regulate Airbnb and similar short-term rentals in London. (London Free Press)

May 10, 2022 – Bracebridge Town Council votes against short-term rental freeze (Cottage Life)

May 3, 2022 – Bracebridge council flips Short Term Rental decision (South Muskoka Doppler)

May 2, 2022 – the Municipality of Bluewater in Huron County has proposed a Short Term Rental By-Law that would impose an application/licencing fee and demerit point systems (including fines) for infractions.

April 12, 2022 – LETTER: Short-term rentals ‘destroy the fabric’ of our communities (Barrie Today)

April 10, 2022 – Ontario lakeside towns push to regulate short-term rentals to preserve their way of life (CBC News)

April 7, 2022 – FOCA attended a virtual public meeting held by the Township of Douro-Dummer intended to allow ratepayers, residents and stakeholders to voice their opinion on the possible use of regulations of Short-term Rentals in the Township. A related survey to collect public input closed on April 8, 2022.

March 2022 – the Municipality of Trent Lakes has approved a phased-approach to STR and enforcement, leading to a planned “nuisance by-law” in 2023 and monetary penalties for offences.

March 10, 2022 – Short-term rental permits provide consumer protection and peace of mind (City of Ottawa)

March 9, 2022 – What you should look for in a cottage [when buying] if you plan to rent out (Cottage Life)

Feb.25, 2022 – Port Colborne forges ahead with voluntary registration for cottage rentals; Councillors also directed bylaw department to crack down on complaints (Welland Tribune) – this news was picked up by Cottage Life on March 16th.

Feb. 2, 2022 – Peterborough County townships grapple with short-term rentals problems (Toronto Star)

Feb.2022 – the City of Kawartha Lakes has decided to focus on education, with a new webpage dedicated to short-term rentals, including complaints process, fees for infractions and information sheets for renters.

Jan.12, 2022 – Huntsville looks to add new tool to force bylaw offenders to pay up: AMPs an effort to increase compliance with bylaw enforcement but would not replace traditional methods (MuskokaRegion)

Jan. 1, 2022 – a new by-law came into force in the Township of Lake of Bays to licence, regulate and govern STR including limiting the number of people per sleeping area to 2, providing a minimum of one parking space per Guest Room, providing a Renters Code of Conduct document, having a responsible person able to respond to issues within 60 minutes and other restrictions, including demerit points and fines for violations. Click to download a copy of the LOB by-law (PDF, 18 pages)

Dec.2, 2021 – Growing Pains: Short-term rentals are prompting concerns around the world (Hamilton Spectator) – an excerpt: “Municipalities like Seguin, Oro-Medonte, and even Wasaga have implemented a total ban on short-term rentals operating on residential properties, insisting they be deemed commercial businesses and acquire the appropriate zoning.”

Nov 24, 2021 – Haliburton County Council has selected a consultant for a Short Term Rental (STR) review which will include a community survey and public consultation, to develop STR policies and regulations for all of Haliburton County.

Nov.18/21 – Short-term rental licensing program coming to Gravenhurst, as reported in MuskokaRegion.com

Nov 16, 2021 – Owen Sound To Look Into Municipal Accommodation Tax For Short-Term Rentals (Bayshore Broadcasting)

November 13, 2021 – Applications open for short-term rentals in South Bruce Peninsula (Blackburn News)

November 10, 2021 – Goderich task force to look at rental bylaw (Blackburn News)

Nov. 2021 – the Municipality of Trent Lakes is planning a Public Consultation Session on Nov.23 about short term rentals, and is conducting a survey for public feedback

November 2, 2021 – Short Term Rentals; A Neighbor’s Perspective. (Presentation to South Frontenac Council)

October 30, 2021 – Why is Wainfleet looking at regulating short-term property rentals? (Toronto Star)

October 27, 2021 – In need of ground rules: Lincoln resident calls for short-term rentals bylaw (Grimsby Lincoln The News)

September 13, 2021 – Short-term rental owner ‘laughing in our face,’ Severn mayor says (Orillia Matters)

September 13, 2021 – (Belleville) City council may license, regulate short-term accommodations (Kingston Whig Standard)

September 10, 2021 – Vrebosch putting Airbnb operators on notice (Timmins Daily Press)

August 26, 2021 – the Township of Gravenhurst has produced an educational brochure, “Be a Good Renter” and seeks public input on short term rental in a survey (respond by September 30th)

August 25, 2021 – ‘The problem is just getting worse’: COVID-19 has Peterborough County weighing pros and cons of short-term rentals (Peterborough This Week)

August 17, 2021 – Regulating cottage rentals and charging fees controversial in NBP (Owen Sound Sun Times)

August 4, 2021 – ‘We have to do something’: Fed up cottagers call for crackdown on rule-breaking rental operators (Peterborough Examiner)

June 14, 2021 – Short-term rentals require long-term planning in Gravenhurst, say lake associations; Education at heart of short-term rental strategy, but is this enough? (Gravenhurst Banner)

June 14, 2021 – Changes in Store for Short-Term Rentals in Township of Lake of Bays (Storeys.com) …with changes expected to take effect January 2022. … The new licensing regulations would see three different STR categories, A, B, and C, which vary depending on the scale and intensity of the STR’s use.

April 30, 2021 – STRs necessary to afford both Tiny Township cottage, downtown Toronto home, council hears (Orillia Matters)

April 19, 2021 – Fort Erie mayor wants to root out bad apples in short-term rental business (Niagara This Week)

April 6, 2021 – a new staff report to the Lake of Bays Council about short-term rental (STR) regulation provides a detailed overview outlining potential costs to administer licenses, as well as summarizing feedback from public consultation. The report suggests NOT regulating STR at this point, with follow up to Council scheduled for Fall 2022. While specific to Lake of Bays, the report may be of interest to other municipalities considering the question of STR. Click to download the report (PDF, 31 pages)

April 1, 2021 – Seguin Township issues notices to stop short-term cottage rentals; Staff hand out 40 infraction notices (Parry Sound North Star)

Feb.25, 2021 – Cottage rentals get the green light, as province lifts short-term rental ban imposed on April 4th (TheStar.com)

Feb.15, 2021 – Staycations mean a run on cottage country (Toronto Sun)

Feb.13, 2021 – La location de chalets, une industrie en plein essor en Ontario (ICI Nord de l’Ontario)

Feb.3, 2021 – Ontario cottage rentals already already in high demand for summer (Global News)

Jan.122021 – the Municipality of Trent Lakes has deferred Council desicion on short term rentals until September, as a result of the ongoing pandemic and inability to have fulsome public consultation on the issue.

Jan. 2021 – the Township of McKellar (Parry Sound) has created a committee to review its bylaws regarding rental. Read news here (parrysound.com)

Dec. 2020 – At Council’s November meeting, Seguin Township deferred making a final decision about short term rental regulations. The current by-law stands in the meantime, prohibiting short term rentals of residentially zoned waterfront cottages.

Nov. 2020 – The Town of Gravenhurst also debated short term rentals at their November Council meeting, and voted to have a staff report on possible regulations, in addition to deciding on an informational “good neighbour” campaign. Read news here. (Toronto.com)

Sept.29, 2020 – With ‘nowhere else to go,’ fall, winter cottage rentals surge (London Free Press)

September 26, 2020 – Township of Lake of Bays Seeks Input On Regulations For Short-Term Rentals (Muskoka 411)

September 10, 2020 – Already under pressure, Toronto Airbnb operators face registration rules (CP24)
As Toronto’s short-term rental market fades, rentals in rural Ontario have bounced back with a vengeance.

September 3, 2020 – Beware of cottage rental scams (blogTO)

August 2020 –  Effective September 10, 2020, the City of Toronto is going to licence companies like Airbnb as businesses. Airbnb and other such platforms will have to pay for a business license and adhere to the City’s rules and regulations. Short term Rental (STR) hosts will have to obtain a City-generated registration number. In order to be registered, hosts will have to prove to the City that they are renting their own principal residence, or up to three rooms within it. Platforms like Airbnb will have to display a valid City-generated registration number on all their rental advertisements. By 2021, only bylaw compliant and City-permitted STR listings should appear on STR platforms.  For detailed information on the registration and licensing system, please visit the City of Toronto website. (City of Toronto)

August 13, 2020 – Rental property owners appeal Oro-Medonte’s ‘gross overreach’  (Orillia Matters)

August 7, 2020 – Severn resident irked by party house (Orillia Matters.com)

July 23, 2020 – STA operators organizing as Northern Bruce Peninsula nears regulatory bylaw draft (Owen Sound Sun Times)

July 15, 2020 – the Township of Oro Medonte passed a zoning by-law clarifying that short term rentals are “Commercial Accommodations” which are prohibited in residential areas. An appeal may be made to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal until August 12, 2020.

June 4, 2020 – …province gives green light to resume short-term rentals (CBC)

June 4, 2020 – Ontario lifts restrictions, reopens short-term rentals starting today (CityNews)

June 4, 2020 – Can you still rent a cottage this summer during the pandemic? It depends (CBC)

May 30, 2020 – Cottage country facing quiet summer (Toronto Star)

April 6, 2020 – Ontario joins Quebec in restricting short-term rentals during coronavirus pandemic (Globe and Mail)

April 2020 – In the response to the pandemic, accommodations other than hotels, motels and student residences are not considered essential services. Read more on the FOCA COVID-19 Update webpage.


FOCA has been following media reports about municipalities debating the regulation of cottage rentals:

Other Resources:

Looking for more information on the topic of responsible rental? See the article from our partners at CottageLINK Rental Management, in FOCA’s 2017 Lake Stewards Newsletter (page 23: “Cottage Rental: What you should know.”)

Concerned about possible issues arising from a rental property?

Click to download a sample “Welcome” sheet that you could adapt for your area, to let new-to-cottage-country folks know about things like septic systems, garbage disposal, sound carrying over water, etc.

Click here to download an information sheet about responsible rental (PDF, 1 page) that you can circulate to your fellow association members.

Click here to read a blog by Heather Bayer of CLRM on the subject of creating a great Welcome Binder for your cottage guests.

Everything you need to include in your cottage rental agreement (Cottage Life, 2022)

See more posts related to Cottage Rental, from our partners at Cottage Life Magazine: https://cottagelife.com/tag/cottage-rental/

AirBnB “Supporting Communities”

Fairbnb.ca is a coalition effort that brings together groups from the regulated hotel and B&B industry with property owners.

Michelle LewinResponsible Cottage Rental