As Chair of the City of Ottawa’s Community and Protective Services Committee, I have the pleasure of being involved in many aspects of our city’s operations. Friday’s Committee meeting lasted over 10 hours, and over 65 residents and organizations attended the meeting to speak in support or against proposed regulations on rental accommodations in our city.
In response to the proliferation of short-term rentals in Ottawa and concerns about the quality of rental housing, low vacancy rates, and a growing need for more affordable rental housing, the Committee approved a regulatory framework for rental accommodations.
Here is what Committee has passed:
- In cases where property owners continue to not comply with property standards, the city would immediately increase the re-inspection fee to $500. Revenue from this fee would be used to fund two new by-law officers who would focus on repeat offenders and high-risk properties.
- The proposed regulatory regime for long-term rental housing also includes new by-laws to improve landlord-tenant communication and pest and vermin management. The city would provide additional educational information on tenant rights and related by-laws.
- The city would pilot new regulations permitting short-term rentals in residential neighbourhoods for three years, enabling property owners to rent out their principal residences, rural cottages, and vacation homes on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, HomeAway and FlipKey. Short-term rentals of commercial and investment properties would still be prohibited.
- Short-term rental platforms, property managers, and hosts would need to register with the city and follow rules related to consumer protection, health and safety, and community nuisances. Short-term rental hosts would need to get a permit that would be valid for two years. The city would use revenues from the new registration and permit fees and from the municipal accommodations tax to enforce the rules.
- Following public consultation, staff would report back to the Committee next year with by-laws to enact the proposed regulations.
- As there are no systemic or recurring issues with hotels, motels, or bed and breakfasts, the city would not create any additional regulations or licensing for these establishments.
- Rooming houses would see no further regulations either as the city hopes to prevent further decline of this affordable form of housing. Instead, the city would use incentives like provincial funding for property enhancements to improve living conditions.
City Council will consider the proposed regulatory regime at its meeting on Wednesday, November 27.