Short-Term Rentals in Ontario: Rules and Regulations in 2023
By Nathan Guss|8 min|September 2022
The Government of Ontario has a flexible approach to short-term rentals that gives a great deal of leeway to cities and towns. Read more to find out what rules and regulations may apply to local hosts.
Last updated: January 2, 2023
In Ontario, the Municipal Act and City of Toronto Act give cities broad authority to regulate short-term rentals. Cities can decide where they are allowed, how they are taxed, and what licences hosts need. This lets communities manage the impact of the booming short-term rental market.
If you’re interested in leasing a property on a short-term basis, check with your municipality about local bylaws and whether you need a permit. There may be regulations on the number of guests and overnight stays allowed per year, for example. Local specifics vary and are constantly evolving, so it’s always a good idea to thoroughly research how it works in your city.
To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s how 3 municipalities in Ontario manage short-term rentals.
In Toronto, a temporary rental unit is defined as a home rented out for less than 28 consecutive days. This definition excludes hotels and motels.
Eligibility to Register
All temporary rental units must register online with the City of Toronto. You’ll need a valid Ontario driver’s licence or Ontario photo card with the address of your primary residence, a credit card and the name of an emergency contact person available during rental periods.
Many types of housing are eligible, including the following:
- rooms in homes
- basement apartments
- units on a residential property including a house (laneway suites)
If you want to rent out a condominium or a unit in an apartment complex, check your association’s bylaws first. You might find that short-term rentals are regulated or prohibited in your building. That said, you don’t need to be a homeowner to take part in the home-sharing economy in Toronto. Renters can rent out their homes but need to check if they can do so under the terms of their lease.
Importantly, the rental home must be your primary residence. The city defines a primary residence as a home where you live and the address you use for bills, taxes and insurance. Dwellings that are part of a larger property—attached units, laneway suites, duplexes, basement apartments and so on—can be rented out, but they must be your primary residence. Second homes and investment properties may only be rented out long-term. Homes that are not in residential areas are also ineligible.
Operators are required to collect and remit a 6% Municipal Accommodation Tax. You’re required to file an online report and make payments quarterly regardless of whether the housing was rented out. If you list your property with a short-term rental platform and they have signed an agreement with the city, they can take care of charging and paying the tax. However, you still must file a quarterly report.
Number of Guests and Nights
Once you’ve registered with the city, there are some specific regulations on how many people you can host and for how many nights. Operators can rent an entire home for up to 180 nights per year. There are no limits for room rentals, but you can rent out no more than 3 rooms. You must keep records about the number of nights and the price paid. You also need to keep track of whether you rented out the entire home or individual rooms.
Ottawa has a new bylaw for short-term rentals of less than 30 days. All hosts must now register with the city when renting out temporary housing.
Applicants can register by sending an application form or applying online. You will need to prove that the property is your primary residence with the address on your Ontario driver’s licence or identification card. You’ll also need to submit proof of ownership or lease (renters must provide written consent from their landlord), proof of insurance and a floor plan showing the square footage of the unit.
Finally, you’ll need to sign a declaration that you are aware of and will comply with all short-term rental bylaws. Currently, the registration fee is $110 for a 2-year permit.
You must be at least 18 years old and reside in an area where the zoning bylaw doesn’t prohibit bed and breakfasts. In urban areas and rural villages, you can rent out your principal residence. The City of Ottawa defines a principal residence as the home with the address that appears on your Ontario driver’s Licence or ID card.
In rural areas outside villages, owners of second homes can apply for a separate cottage rental permit. They may rent out a vacation home, apartment suite or coach house. Ottawa residents can apply for 1 short-term rental and 1 cottage rental permit.
The City of Ottawa requires short-term rental operators to collect and remit a 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax. Payments must be made to the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association (OGHA) monthly. Smaller establishments can ask the City of Ottawa for permission to make quarterly reports. You must file a report even if you didn’t have any guests.
Hosts must have an insurance policy (homeowner’s, condominium or renter’s insurance as the case may be) with at least a million-dollar limit of liability.
Numbers of Guests
Depending on the size of the home, you may host up to 10 guests with a maximum of 2 people per bedroom.
Like its big-city counterparts, the popular cottage destination of Huntsville has specific bylaws in its Short-Term Rental program for rentals of 28 days or less.
Residents and property owners can participate in the Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) program if their home is in one of the designated areas. Applying for a licence requires proof of ownership, a certificate of insurance, a waste disposal plan and site drawings. The town will inspect the property to ensure that it meets the fire code and other regulations. The yearly licence fee is $500.00 for a primary residence and $750 for a secondary residence. Future hosts can submit their application online.
In Huntsville, anyone renting out a home for 30 days or less must collect the 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax. These funds must be paid to the town monthly.
When applying for a licence, potential hosts must provide an insurance certificate with the policy’s rental clause highlighted.
Number of Guests
Like the other two examples, you cannot host more than 2 guests per bedroom. However, a room with a pullout couch or Murphy bed can count as a bedroom.
Don’t Be Discouraged
Although sifting through details of licensing processes and regulations may seem daunting, short-term rentals can be a real boost to your income—much more so than long-term rentals.
To generate maximum income with minimum hassle, why not list your home with SiniSTAR?
Sinistar lets you offer your home to insurance companies to house disaster victims.
Join the largest community of hosts for disaster victims today.
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