East Ferris passed its rules governing short-term rentals — think of those listings on Airbnb, Vrbo and other similar sites — after much discussion among councilors and the public. As the process unfolded, many opinions surfaced, some against imposing regulations on the rental of his property, and others believing that such rentals should be banned from the municipality altogether.
Council and city staff had a tricky question to balance, and after hearing from the community and reviewing their draft bylaws, the final version is now complete. By-law number 2022-23 was adopted on May 12 and the document can be consulted on the municipality’s website.
North Bay is also looking into the matter.
To see: Short-term rentals will be the focus of the public meeting
Here are some highlights. Licenses will be required to operate a short term rental. Licenses can be applied for through the municipality and are available for a three month or five month period. These deadlines were discussed a lot by the advisers, because originally the regulations provided for a period of only three months, but the decision was made to open it to five as well.
See: East Ferris plans to bring home short-term rental settlement by end of April
For $750 a person can purchase a license for three months. This means that the license holder can rent their accommodation for three months in a calendar year, and these months do not have to be consecutive. For $1,000 you can purchase a five-month license.
There is no option for four months and monthly licenses are not for sale. It’s three or five, no in-betweens, and the decision was made because managing the purchase of individual months would soon send staff into “an administrative nightmare”, councilor Terry Kelly said.
Licenses must be renewed annually if owners plan to continue operating short-term rentals.
Another significant change to the project that came up during Thursday’s meeting concerned rental housing advertising. The draft stipulated that no one could advertise their space for a month that is not allowed on their license. Councilors and staff felt it was too difficult to enforce and ultimately deemed it unnecessary. Advertising is permitted at all times, however, the periods during which the properties can be rented remain linked to the months of the license.
Speaking of changes, at one point in the project, tents were not allowed in a short-term rental location. That has changed, after all, what if the tenant’s children want to camp for a night in the side yard? Such innocent ambitions can now materialize, as the revised bylaw allows tents, but adding a tent cannot increase the maximum occupancy allowed inside the rental unit. If the license allows six people to stay, an owner cannot allow two additional people in the tent.
See: Short-term rentals will be the focus of the public meeting
Septic systems appear quite often in the bylaw because the municipality wants to make sure the septic systems can handle the number of licensed guests. When people submit their permit application, they must include a copy of the septic permit, which “allows us to ensure that the permit reflects the number of people they intend to rent to,” said Greg Kirton, director of community services for the municipality. . Kirton was a lead author of the settlement and will be responsible for overseeing permit applications. He also clarified that there will be no one from the municipality who will visit your property to inspect your septic system.
As for this request, here is what the municipality expects from you. Proof that you own the property, contact information, a site plan including parking layout, a floor plan showing all bedrooms and sleeping arrangements, and a list of any websites or another location where the rental will be listed.
The septic tank permit, a plan on how to ensure tenants are familiar with local regulations and a waste collection plan are also required. The owners will also require proof of commercial liability insurance (and non-residential, a point made during the council meeting) in the amount of $2 million.
It’s a lot of paperwork, and we’re already halfway through May, so what’s a law-abiding short-term tenant to do?
Because this is all new, the municipality has adopted a transitional clause allowing a two-month period during which “applications will be accepted to determine the eligibility of existing properties for a short-term rental permit”.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works for BayToday, a Village Media publication. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.