Oakville moves to regulate short term accommodations

Thu, 22 Mar 2018

Regulations will maintain community character and create accountability

Town Council approved regulations for short-term accommodations and bed and breakfasts through amendments to the town’s zoning by-laws, and a new licensing by-law to licence, regulate and govern these uses.

The zoning by-law regulates the types of properties that homeowners can rent as a short-term accommodation, and effective November 1, 2018, the new licensing by-law will require rental companies and rental hosts to be licensed with the town in order to operate.

“Council’s objective is to protect the livability and vitality of our communities,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “We believe these new regulations will help us maintain community character and create accountability in the home-sharing market.”

The town’s zoning by-law amendments now recognize short-term accommodations and permit them within a variety of residential areas, subject to obtaining a licence.

In order to operate a short-term accommodation, the new by-law requires that a certificate of occupancy and a $237 per year license be obtained; that the accommodation be operated by the person(s) whose principal residence is the dwelling in which the rental unit is located, and that one additional off-street parking space be provided.

Short-term accommodations are not allowed within the same dwelling as a bed and breakfast establishment, a lodging house, a private home daycare, or a daycare.

As for bed and breakfasts, the new regulations would permit three lodging units within a bed and breakfast – up from two, to create more equity in the market between short-term accommodations and bed and breakfasts.

The term "short-term accommodation" typically describes rentals that occur over a short period of time (e.g. less than 30 days). Popular online platforms such as Airbnb, Flipkey and Homeaway facilitate bookings and payments for short-term accommodations.

In October 2016, Council directed staff to study the issue of licensing short-term accommodation in Oakville and how other municipalities are regulating or licensing this form of accommodation. Throughout 2017, town staff conducted best practices research, identified issues and consulted with stakeholders and the public.