Tay's short-term rental properties could soon face regulation

·2 min read

Tay Township could soon bring down the hammer on short-term rental (STR) properties in the municipality.

The process that started last summer is drawing closer to a resolution with staff bringing forward recommendations to council committee this Wednesday.

The report includes results from a number of surveys sent out to both STR owners and those who live in the vicinity of such properties.

A total of 79 surveys were sent to known STR operators and only 34 of those were returned to the township by deadline.

Most property owners that answered the survey are located on the waterfront and identify themselves as "seasonal cottages." The results also suggest that most STR owners either live on the property or within a 30-minute driving distance.

Property owners also indicated that they're making $15,000 or more from the rental income, which is a supplement to any other source of earning they have.

Owners have also indicated their contact information is shared with neighbours and that they have never received any complaints. STR operators answering the survey said they would not support regulating STRs but would support limiting the number of guests per bedroom.

Survey results from those living in the vicinity of STRs present a split picture around demands for regulation.

"Respondents that indicated they have never been disrupted by the STRs," says the report, "responded that the Township shouldn’t do anything and should rely on the existing bylaws in place to enforce these types of uses on residential properties. Staff found that many people who have had issues with STRs were very passionate in their responses as to why the Township needs to regulate this type of uses."

On the other hand, those experiencing issues with nearby STRs are in support of regulations.

Staff is recommending a tiered approach that would look at amending the zoning bylaw to include a comprehensive definition of an STR. The next step would be to create an STR licensing bylaw to specifically govern STR-related issues. Staff is also recommending an administrative monetary penalty system (AMPS), which is an option allowed by the Municipal Act.

Cases under this option do not proceed to a court of law and are dealt with by a council-appointed committee.

A second report included in the agenda will address council's concerns around open air burning in the municipality.

The fire chief recommends that the township continue to monitor open air burning, but the size of fire pits or chimneys be reduced to 0.6 m (24") in diameter in urban areas. A second recommendation is to restrict open air burning to the hours of midnight and 5 p.m.

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. and can be viewed online. Residents can call in at 705-999-0385 and enter meeting ID 845 1662 3299 to listen in on the meeting.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com