Short-Term Rental Licensing Draft By-Law Consultation

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 are now inviting the public to provide feedback on short-term rentals and the draft by-law. We are hoping to gather feedback from across the municipality from short term rental operators, neighbours of short term rentals, other residents in the municipality, and visitors who use short term rentals. Multiple perspectives will help municipal staff and Council develop a comprehensive by-law that balances the needs of residents and short term rental operators. 

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.

How to provide feedback

You can provide feedback by completing our short term rental consultation survey by August 31, 2022. The survey is designed to have different questions based on whether or not you are completing it as a neighbour, short term rental operator, visitor, etc. Any information collected as part of the consultation survey may be included in a report to Council. However, personal information will not be shared. 

Please review the draft by-law before completing the survey. 


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

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

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