Short Term Rentals

The Council of the Municipality of Bluewater has adopted a strict enforcement policy in relation to short term rentals. This means that municipal by-law enforcement officers are conducting a zero-tolerance mandate relative to repeat offenders and will issue fines where necessary.

While a strict enforcement policy is in effect, educational material is available to communicate to short term rental owners and their tenants the by-laws that must be adhered to within the Municipality of Bluewater.  These by-laws include:

  • Zoning 
  • Noise 
  • Open air burning 
  • Parking and traffic 
  • Public nuisance 

These by-laws and an information brochure are all available for review by contacting the Development Services Department.

Concerns about a short term rental?

If you have concerns about a short term rental, or feel that a short term rental is not in compliance with the referenced by-laws above, please complete the by-law complaint form. Once the required information is received and it is determined if a by-law violation exists, appropriate action will be taken to resolve the matter.

Complainants’ personal details are kept confidential according to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Important by-laws and information

If you are operating a short term rental or staying in one, here are a few important points to keep in mind.

Municipal law enforcement officers enforce municipal by-laws. When a complaint is received, it is investigated to determine if there has been a by-law violation. The appropriate action will then be taken to resolve the matter. At any time, an officer may enter onto land for the purpose of carrying out an inspection to determine whether by-laws are being obeyed.

Council discussed additional regulations and weighed the benefits and drawbacks of licensing short term rentals. Council determined that a strict enforcement policy is the best solution at this time for enforceable by-laws (e.g. noise, fire, parking).

The municipality does not currently regulate and/or prohibit short term rentals. Council understands that many residents have traditionally rented their cottage/dwellings or lent them to family and friends seasonally during the summer months. This has been a common practice for decades. The zoning by-law does not prohibit the use of a dwelling unit (e.g. entire cottage or home) for any length of time (e.g. short term or long term) to be rented. However, if a room rental is provided, providing or selling meals and/or drink is strictly prohibited as this would be considered a bed and breakfast establishment. Bed and breakfasts are only permitted on properties with specific zoning that permits this use.

The zoning by-law can be found on our by-laws page.

A copy of the municipality's noise by-law should be posted or provided to each renter when explaining the rental rules. In the past, this has been extremely effective in ensuring voluntary compliance.

A few highlights of the by-law include:

  • Loud music, yelling and shouting are prohibited at all times. 
  • Electronic devices using a loudspeaker(s) to produce amplified sound are prohibited between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • No person shall cause or permit to be caused any unusual noises, or noises likely to disturb the inhabitants at any time.

The by-law is available for review by contacting the Development Services department.

A copy of the municipality's open air burning by-law should be posted or provided to each renter when explaining the rental rules. In the past, this has been extremely effective in ensuring voluntary compliance. 

Before a fire is set, it is your responsibility to know if a fire ban is in effect by monitoring social media and the municipal website. 

A few highlights of the by-law include:

  • Supervise the fire at all times.
  • Only use acceptable burn materials.
  • Keep something to extinguish the fire at the burn site.
  • Use an appropriate containing device.
  • Supervise children and teach them about safe behaviour around the fire. 
  • If it is windy, have a fire another day.
  • Fires are not allowed during poor air quality days or during a fire ban. 
  • Disobeying the by-law could result in a $5000 fine as well as costs associated with the fire department having to attend the property to extinguish the fire.

The by-law is available for review by contacting the Development Services department.

Not all properties in the municipality are connected to a municipal sewage system. Some use septic systems to contain sewage waste. For our purposes, they are considered the same. 

The Ontario Building Code includes the size requirements for onsite sewage (septic) systems. The Code states that for residential dwellings, the size of a sewage system is based on the number of bedrooms, finished area of the dwelling and the number of plumbing fixtures. Anyone concerned that a sewage system is not working properly can contact the municipal office and the complaint will be investigated. Every sewage system requires regular maintenance to ensure it is operating safely and efficiently. 

The municipality's traffic and parking by-law is quite detailed. It lists specific locations where parking is restricted and explains the fines for parking infractions. For example, parking in a prohibited area is a $60 fine.

The by-law is available for review by contacting the Development Services department. 

The municipality's public nuisance by-law contains fines for offences that can be charged under the Provincial Offences Act.

A few of the highlights are:

  • Disturbing the peace
  • Urinating in a public place
  • Committing lewd activities
  • Loitering
  • Creating a nuisance to residents

The by-law is available for review by contacting the Development Services department.

The short term rental educational brochures are an important step in successfully educating rental owners, their tenants, as well as the public regarding our municipal by-laws.
Paul Klopp
Mayor

Municipality of Bluewater
14 Mill Avenue
ZURICH, ON
N0M 2T0
Phone: 519-236-4351
or 1-877-236-4351
Fax: 519-236-4329
Send an Email

Scroll to top