Since 2020, Bluewater Council has provided many resolutions about short term rentals in the municipality. Recently, staff and Council have been working together to draft a by-law to regulate short-term rentals. Staff and Council's goal in drafting the by-law is to create a policy that balances the economic benefits of short term rentals with the needs of the neighbourhoods where they exist.
As part of the process, we collected feedback from the public on short-term rentals and the draft by-law over the summer of 2022. Now that the results are in, on October 12th, 2022 at 6 p.m., the Municipality of Bluewater will hold a public meeting to obtain final feedback before presenting another draft licensing by-law to Council. We will be sharing the results from the survey and comments received from residents, the public, and short-term rental users over the past few months.
This is a proposed hybrid meeting where anyone can attend virtually or in-person. If you wish to provide comments, you will need to register for virtual or in-person with Nellie Evans, administrative assistant to Development Services. This meeting will be livestreamed on the municipality's YouTube channel. An agenda with a link to watch the meeting will be posted in our council portal closer to the meeting date. For those wishing to attend in person, the meeting will be held at Council Chambers at the Stanley Complex, 38594 Mill Road, Varna. Please check back for updates.
Highlights of the proposed by-law
The purpose of the proposed by-law is to ensure safety of all parties in and around all properties. It is designed to have certain items in mind for protection of renters and neighbours. Some items to be included in the by-law are:
- A parking management plan to ensure that people do not park on streets outside of permitted areas and to prohibit parking on private lots where damage to septic systems could happen.
- A maximum occupancy limit that reflects a maximum number of people per bedroom and/or per dwelling.
- A requirement that the owner must be able to attend the property within thirty minutes.
- A demerit point system is proposed to give negative points to rentals that do not comply with the licensing by-law or other municipal by-laws. If a maximum number of demerit points is reached, the license may be revoked. This will ensure that all municipal by-laws and requirements will be followed within our most vulnerable residential areas.
When we refer to short term rentals, we are speaking about furnished living spaces that are rented out for a short period of time. These are different from hotels or bed and breakfasts which have different requirements they have to meet under law. They are also commonly called vacation rentals. Short term rentals might be operated by anyone out of their own home or they might operate out of a property that was purchased specifically for the purpose of renting them to customers for short periods of time. Today, many are booked through web platforms like Airbnb™ or independent websites.
Currently, short term rentals operating in Bluewater do not need to be licensed. For the past few years, Bluewater has been working to educate short term rental operators and their visitors about important by-laws that visitors and residents must follow. Complaints are handled through the by-law enforcement department.
Several reports have been taken to Council for discussion. Past council reports and minutes of council meetings can be found in our council portal. Other municipalities have also been having similar discussions all over Ontario and in other places where short term rentals operate.
Recent council reports include:
For more information, please contact Aaron Stewardson, Manager of Development Services or Nellie Evans, Administrative Assistant.