Grimsby to consider licensing short-term rental accommodations

Although short-term rentals such as Airbnbs are not allowed in Grimsby, more than 128 are currently listed online.

In response to this, Coun. Jennifer Korstanje introduced a motion at the Dec. 4 council meeting for the town to look into a licensing system for short-term rentals.

Currently, the town’s bylaws only allow for Bed and Breakfasts.

But a quick google search told bylaw officer Henry Boese that the town has more than 120 short-term rentals listed on sites such as Airbnb.

“Ninety per cent of them are illegal or do not conform to our current zoning bylaw,” he said. “A short-term rental licensing bylaw would be that enforcement piece because it would be a municipal bylaw.”

The goal, both Boese and Korstanje said, is not to outlaw these short-term rentals, but to find a way to regulate them and provide the municipality with ways they can enforce rules.

Boese pointed to other neighbouring municipalities, such as Lincoln, are currently working on similar programs, and they would be able to look to them for guidance.

Korstanje’s hope with her original motion was that any money made from the program could go to create a pilot project fund designated for legal representation for local tenants.

Councillor Nick DiFlavio commented that the program would probably break even, making just enough money to fund itself, while Coun. Lianne Vardy added that any money made should just go back to the town.

Ultimately the motion passed to have staff come back to council with a report on implementing a short-term licensing system.

Abby Green, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News