Did you know that Short Term Accommodations require a license to operate within the Town of Gananoque?
In 2019, the Town passed By-law No. 2019-125 (Amend Development Permit By-law to Include Short-Term Accommodations) which updated the Development Permit (zoning) By-law to clarify the the regulations around Short Term Accommodation types (including Bed and Breakfasts, Heritage Tourists Inns, and Accommodations advertised through online hosting platforms), and By-law No. 2019-123 (Short-Term Accommodations Licensing) which introduced licensing of all Short Term Accommodations within Town limits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Short Term Accommodation?
A Short Term Accommodation (STA) is “a portion of a dwelling or dwelling unit, that is owner-occupied and rented for a period of less than twenty-eight (28) days.” An STA includes a Bed and Breakfast that may or may not prepare and serve breakfast or a Heritage Tourist Inn, but does not include a motel, hotel or accommodations where there is no payment exchanged.
Are Airbnb, VRBO or other platform rentals considered Short Term Accommodations?
Yes. They are required to be licensed and are not exempt.
What if I only rent my accommodation on weekends or occasionally?
The STA license applies to all short term rentals, regardless of how often the space is made available for rentals.
Why did the Town decided to license STA’s and implement Development Permit (Zoning) requirements?
The Town’s Development Permit By-law did not define Short Term Accommodations within the By-law, therefore, prohibiting the use.
When considering and implementing the regulations the Town’s intentions were to:
- Protect the housing market in terms of longterm rentals,
- Ensure that proper approvals and compliance were in place such as parking, Fire Code requirements, etc.
- Maintain a level playing field for Bed and Breakfasts and Heritage Tourist Inns who previously undertook the proper Planning Act approvals.
- Ensure that the neighbourhoods “Where we live” are for families to live and not for commercial business; yet
- Still provide an avenue for property owners to offer accommodations within their home provided it is owner-occupied.
What about STA’s that operated before the By-laws or 2019?
If an accommodation was lawfully operating and had prior Planning Act approvals (Bed and Breakfast or Heritage Tourist Inn) they are required to obtain an annual license from the Town.
If an accommodation was operating with no prior Planning Act approvals, they are required to meet the requirements as set out in the Development Permit By-law prior to obtaining a license to operate.
I’m thinking of purchasing a home or offering accommodations in my home. What can I expect in order to get an STA license (properties currently without a license)?
The following is a brief list of items that you need to consider:
First, obtain a Development Permit under the Planning Act:
- Am I located in a residential area or do I have a business that I operate in the commercial downtown?
- Do I meet the definition of owner-occupied?
- Can I meet the requirements of the Development Permit By-law for one (1) parking space per guest room on-site?
- Can I meet the Building Code Act and Fire Code Act requirements for guests?
- Contact Trudy Gravel firstname.lastname@example.org for a pre-consultation.
Second, obtain an STA License:
- Have I completed the application form?
- Have I completed the checklist?
- Have I provided proof of insurance?
I have an STA License. What can expect in terms of my license?
- The Town requires an annual STA License renewal along with proof of insurance.
- All STA Licensees are required to submit a remittance as per Municipal Accommodation Tax By-law No. 2019-058 using the Municipal Accommodation Tax Form.
- Every four years a mandatory inspection will be undertaken by a By-law Enforcement Officer.
If I operate a Short Term Accommodation, does the Municipal Accommodation Tax apply?
Yes. The Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) By-law 2019-158 was passed on June 19, 2019. This By-law applies to all short term rental stays (hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, heritage tourist inns and short term accommodations). The MAT remittance form is available on the Town’s website at the Municipal Accommodation Tax Return Page.
Collection came into effect on December 31, 2019.
Is there a limit to the number of licenses available?
No, there is currently no limit to the number of STA licenses that can be issued.
What does Owner-Occupied mean?
Owner-occupied means any property offering Short Term Accommodations owned by a person who resides in the dwelling as their principal residence. For properties located in the Commercial Traditional Core, owner-occupied means a property owned by the person occupying/operating the commercial store-front business at the location where Short Term Accommodation is offered in the same building.
All Short Term Accommodations are required to be owner-occupied.
How long does it take to process an application for a STA licence?
Processing times can vary based on the information provided in the application form and if you have previously obtained Planning Act approvals. If you do not have a Development Permit for your Short Term Accommodation, please contact Trudy Gravel (email@example.com).
Each application is reviewed to ensure the applicant meets the requirements of the Short-Term Accommodations Licensing By-law.
Can I fill out and submit the STA license application online?
Complete applications may be received at Town Hall, 30 King Street East, Monday to Friday or at the drop-off box located on the west side of the building.
How much does a Short Term Accommodation license cost?
Please refer to the General Fees and Rates By-law No. 2016-047 Schedule A for license and renewal fees. The license must be renewed annually as long as the STA is in operation.
How will the revenue collected as part of the Municipal Accommodation Tax be spent?
MAT funds will be administered by the Tourism Advisory Panel, which is made up of representatives from the various accommodation sectors. Funds are spent on marketing, events and tourism to increase tourism in Gananoque.
I have complaints about a Short Term Accommodation in my neighbourhood. What do I do?
Please contact the By-law Enforcement Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613 541-3213. For after-hours noise complaints, please contact the Gananoque Police Service non-emergency line at 613-382-4422.
Properties are subject to all municipal by-laws including parking, noise, garbage and debris as well as the Fire Code Act.
What happens if I do not apply for proper approvals and obtain a license?
The Town may impose fines of $250 for advertising without license or $1,000 for failing to obtain a license. These fines have been approved by the Ontario Court of Justice.