Learn about the Supplemental Report on Short-term Rental Licensing

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Learn about the Supplemental Report on Short-term Rental Licensing

This Thursday, staff will present a supplementary report to the Administrative Policies Committee on short-term rental licensing. This updated program reflects public feedback and provides a solution that aligns with community goals of addressing housing availability, rental-unit safety and quality, nuisance impacts on neighbourhoods and the City’s commitment to fiscal responsibility by way of a municipal accommodation tax (MAT).

What is the Short-term Rental Licensing program?

Short-term accommodations are private, residential dwellings (or part of dwellings) that are rented on a temporary basis (generally fewer than 30 days, with daily or weekly rates). The short-term rental licensing program would require operators to register their unit with the City, to ensure that it meets certain safety standards.

The program suggests a 3-month period of education and awareness-building before the by-law will be enforced.

What changes have been made to the program?

After collecting resident input through an online survey and open house in August 2019, staff identified several changes to the proposed framework:

  • While rental units are still limited to a maximum period of 30 consecutive days, there is no longer an annual cap on how many days a unit can be rented.
  • The principal residence requirement (meaning that rental units could only be operated out of a property owner’s primary residence) was removed.

The consecutive-days-cap remains to ensure that units that could otherwise provide long-term rental accommodations are not diverted from the housing stock. Furthermore, the City will not place a limit on partial-unit rentals allowing both aging residents and first-time home buyers alike to supplement their incomes by home-sharing.  Occupancy standards must comply with the Ontario Building Code.

What is Host Compliance and how do they collect information on Short-term Rentals?

To effectively enforce the bylaw and maintain accurate information on the number of short-term rentals in operation, the City is proposing to contract the use of service provider, Host Compliance.

Host Compliance is an American company that uses a computer algorithm to identify all online postings for short-term rentals and compile them so that the Licensing and Enforcement Division can more effectively enforce the Short-term Rental Licensing program. More than 250 municipalities in Canada and the United States use Host Compliance.

Host Compliance is compliant with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), and they set very clear guidelines for how rental data is collected.

  1. Scanning publicly-posted online short-term rental listings/ads, Host Compliance narrows down possible addresses for short-term rentals by using a computer algorithm.
  2. They present the output to address identification analysts who work to match the listing to a specific street address and/or both a specific street address and a specific unit number.

Short-term rental hosts are on these platforms to share information with potential customers. Host Compliance focuses on finding the address of the listing, not the person behind the listing. 

Only publicly-available data would be used to determine the short-term rental locations. The information taken from publicly posted advertisements is matched to publicly available data. Host Compliance does not physically visit properties and does not use any proprietary surveillance tools such as infrared imaging or drones to augment the data that can already be found online. They never contact hosts or make fake bookings.

It is also important to emphasize that, once collected, the information is stored in Canada, on Canadian servers.  More specifically, all data is hosted on System and Organizational Controls 2 (SOC 2) compliant servers. These are the highest standard of privacy security available. The data they will collect on behalf of the City is encrypted and only made available to authorized City personnel via secure web connections. It will be subject to standard data retention policies.

The Host Compliance platform has undergone a rigorous internal assessment by the City’s IS&T team prior, after which no security concerns were identified.

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<strong>Paige Agnew</strong>
Paige Agnew
Director of planning, building and licensing services
613-546-4291, ext. 3252

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