Illegal short-term rentals in Collingwood: City officials

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Current research indicates that around 300 illegal short-term rentals are taking place in Collingwood, the majority located in the central and western areas of the city; the committee gives its initial approval to move to a public consultation on the matter

Short-term rentals, other than licensed bed and breakfasts, are currently illegal in Collingwood.

However, based on public feedback, this may change.

At Monday evening’s Development and Operations Services Standing Committee meeting, the committee voted to receive an update on the status of short-term rentals in Collingwood and asked staff to initiate public consultations on the subject to get feedback on how to approach the future. short-term rental in town.

If the decision is ratified by council, the city is expected to begin consultations this summer and report to council in December on the results before council decides how to proceed.

“This report certainly addresses the complexities of this issue. It’s very evident how important it is to have strong public consultation,” the Coun said. Deb Doherty. “We normally only hear from neighbors who are upset about STAs (short-term accommodation), but we don’t hear from landlords – probably because they’re illegal – or users.”

“This is a logical next step and I look forward to getting a direction that works for our community as a whole,” she said.

Com. Yvonne Hamlin says she sees public consultation differently.

“I was totally opposed to regulation, but after reading this I can see that if we were to allow some form of STA, regulating it would ensure the units were safe and we would know who owns them so we could contact them if there are any issues,” she said.

“Honestly, I don’t want to hear from the owners of these units, and I don’t want to hear from the users. To a large extent, these are people who don’t live in our community,” Hamlin said. “I think who we need to focus on is our residents.”

Hamlin said a family member lives next to an area that allows short-term rentals in Blue Mountain.

“It was non-stop parties, despite all the regulations,” she said. “The clear focus of our residential neighborhoods should be residential use.”

In Collingwood, it is illegal to rent a house short term (less than 30 days) unless it is a bed and breakfast where the owner or a manager is also staying in the rented house.

According to the staff report prepared by the city’s Licensing and Compliance Officer, Amanda Fone, a review of online rental platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO and Flipkey by a third-party provider revealed approximately 300 active rentals at short term in the city, the majority located in the central and western parts of Collingwood.

“Given the potential for around 300 illegal STAs in Collingwood, there remains concern as to how effectively current regulations could be enforced with available resources,” Fone noted in his report.

To investigate this further, the city is currently seeking a third party vendor to monitor over 60 online platforms to generate an inventory of active STAs within the city limits. The deadline for submitting the RFP for the works is June 20.

Between 2014 and 2022, the Municipal Services Division received 263 calls for service related to ATS. In 2019 they received 58 calls, in 2020 they received 54, in 2021 they received 81 and in 2022 as of June 1 they received 33 calls.

“As COVID-19 public health restrictions are removed and the tourism industry regains popularity, it is likely that complaints about illegal ATS will continue to increase,” Fone wrote. “There is concern that the Claims Services Division will not be able to monitor the situation under the current framework.”

The benefits of allowing short-term rentals in a municipality can include economic opportunities, expanded accommodation options, and increased tourism. Challenges may include contributing to a shortage of affordable and available long-term rentals, impact on local hotels/motels and legitimate bed and breakfast businesses, impacts on public/community safety, and enforcement of the law.

If it is determined that the city should allow short-term rentals, options considered for oversight include licensing, registration, zoning, or implementing a municipal lodging tax. The staff report outlines how other municipalities such as the City of Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach and Orillia have handled tracking short-term rentals in their areas, and their levels of success.

“It is clear that municipalities recognize that online rental platforms will continue to exist, and as a result, many jurisdictions have moved from outright bans to allowing by regulation,” the staff report notes.

The report was originally commissioned by the board in November 2020.

During Monday’s meeting, the con. Kathy Jeffery acknowledged how difficult the file was to compile.

“As a councilor, I was getting at least one call a day about neighborhoods being disrupted by ATS,” she said, asking for a fixed date for the results of the public consultation to come back to council. “It was pointed out to me that once the City of Blue Mountains had their app and licensing in place, all they did was move it here to Collingwood.”

“We didn’t protect ourselves after what Blue Mountains put in place,” she said.

Clerk Sara Almas confirmed that the report is expected to return in December 2022 after the municipal elections.

The committee voted in favor of the recommendation to receive the report and conduct a public consultation on it. Acting Mayor Keith Hull was absent from the meeting.

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