The City of Ottawa Wants Your Opinion on the Proposed Short-Term Rental Regulations

The City of Ottawa is considering taking steps to regulate short-term rentals.  Short-term rentals are a significant concern in many residential communities, including residential condominiums.

The City retained Maclaren Municipal Consulting Inc. to perform an analysis of Ottawa’s regulatory framework for rental accommodations and to prepare recommendations for regulating short- and long-term rentals.  A copy of the Maclaren’s Regulation of Short-Term Rental Accommodation study can be found here.

The Maclaren study proposes a number of recommendations to remedy the issues associated with short term rentals. The primary recommendation is the creation of a registration system for those wishing to offer short-term rentals.  Amongst other things, the study recommends requiring short-term rental hosts to:

  • Register with the City;
  • Meet eligibility conditions as required and determined by the City;
  • Publish a valid City registration number with any short-term rental advertisement; and
  • Provide details relating to the proposed property, proposed rental accommodation, maximum occupancy of the rental unit, and any other relevant information.

Of particular interest to condominium corporations is the recommendation that a short-term rental host be required to certify that the corporation’s declaration, bylaws and rules do not prohibit short-term rentals.  This certification may be challenged (perhaps by a condominium’s Board of Directors, or another person or entity).  If the certification is ultimately found to be inaccurate or false, the host’s registration may be revoked.

A Board of Directors may also be permitted to register the condominium’s property with the City if the condominium’s declaration, bylaws and/or rules prohibit short term rentals.  Any applications for short term rentals located within that registered condominium property would then be rejected by the City.

In short, the proposed recommendations for regulating short term rentals appear to provide assistance to condominium corporations, particularly if the corporation’s governing documents prohibit short term rentals.

This said, it is worthwhile noting that condominium corporations still have separate rights to enforce existing provisions in the corporation’s declarations or rules (prohibiting short term rentals) or rights to amend their declarations or pass new rules (again, prohibiting short term rentals).

As part of its third phase of consultation, the City is now inviting the public to consider and provide input through a short survey on its findings and key conclusions.  The deadline to complete the survey is Friday October 18 at 11:59 p.m.

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