Yarmouth takes next step to regulate short-term rentals
Yarmouth's town planning committee is advancing its efforts to regulate short-term rentals to protect its housing stock.
At a public hearing Tuesday, the committee voted to send proposed bylaw and municipal planning strategy amendments to council for a first reading.
The amendments would allow for only one unit per lot in the southwestern Nova Scotia community, and would require short-term rental properties to be the operator's primary residence.
However, operators could apply for a development agreement with the town to have more than one unit on their lot and to live off the property.
The town defines short-term rentals, such as Airbnbs and Vrbos, as "the use of a dwelling unit for commercial overnight accommodation for a period of less than 28 consecutive days."
Only two residents attended the public hearing, and neither expressed strong opposition to the amendments.
The town doesn't currently have any specific regulations for short-term rentals, but with the industry growing, Mayor Pam Mood said it's important for the town to be proactive and protect its housing stock.
"We don't want to affect our historic districts and our residential neighborhood," she said. "So we have to keep a really close eye on that."
The province now requires all short-term rentals to be registered, which Mood said will help the town keep track of the properties.
According to a staff report, there are about 50 short-term rental operators in Yarmouth, and short-term rentals only represent around 1.5 per cent of dwellings in the town.
Mood said the amendments wouldn't affect many current short-term rental operators in Yarmouth because they either already operate under these regulations, or they already have development agreements with the town.
The amendments will go to town council for a first reading on May 11. If they pass, there will be another public hearing before the new regulations come into effect.
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