Our Submission to the City Respecting the City’s Planned Zoning Amendment – Short-Term Rentals

As we reported in our recent blog, the City of Ottawa has published a proposal to amend the City’s zoning by-law to temporarily permit the short-term rental of residential units in the City (for a three-year “trial period”). It is proposed to permit this use only where the rental is a secondary use of the resident’s principal dwelling. Members of the public were invited to make submissions by January 31, 2021.

On January 29th, we (DHA) made the following submission to the City and received the following reply.

Our Submission to the City

Short-term rentals are prohibited or regulated in many condominiums under the terms of the condominium corporation’s governing documents – whether the condominium’s Declaration, By-laws or Rules.  

Therefore, we would hope to persuade you that any by-law of the City (relating to short-term rentals) should include a provision along the following lines:

“Any short term rental of a unit in a condominium may also be prohibited or further regulated by the governing documents (including the Declaration, By-laws or Rules) of the particular condominium corporation.”

The City’s reply (from Valerie Bietlot – Manager, Public Policy Branch)

I can advise that further to City Council direction in 2019, staff are developing robust protections for condominium corporations which have chosen to prohibit short-term rentals on their properties under their own governance rules. If a condominium declaration or condominium by-law prohibits short-term rental use on the premises, the City would not issue a short-term rental host permit for that specific address. In other words, the regulations under development by staff would recommend that the decision made by the condominium corporation to prohibit short-term rental activity be respected. A process would be created by which condominium corporations can register their prohibitions with City staff, along with a copy of the specific declaration or by-law evidencing the prohibition. 

Please note that we have also recently received feedback from representatives of condo corporations requesting that our permit regime also accept prohibitions contained in condo rules, not just those contained in condo by-laws or declarations. We will carefully review this input internally to see whether we can work that in our recommended regulations. If you have any specific input on this issue, I would be very pleased to receive it.

Our further comment to the City

Thanks so much for your very helpful response.

In terms of your question about condominium rules: I can confirm that condominium rules (prohibiting or regulating short-term tenancies) are very common and are indeed proper and enforceable. [This has been confirmed by a number of Court decisions.] I can provide copies of relevant Court decisions, if that would be useful.

We’re pleased with the City’s response; and we will keep you posted as these matters progress!

Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on condominium law!