Short Term Rental Accommodation Review

Short Term Rental Accommodation

The Township of Minden Hills is currently reviewing regulatory mechanisms for Short-Term Rental (STR) accommodations. Like many municipalities across Ontario, the recent popularity of online platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and other rental accommodation websites, has led to an evolution in the way in which many residential properties are being used within the Township of Minden Hills, and most particularly within the Township’s waterfront areas.

In an effort to minimize land use conflicts and ensure appropriate environmental stewardship, while at the same time recognizing the rights of private land owners and the valuable contribution of Short Term Rental Accommodation on the local economy and property values, the Township is soliciting the public’s input on potential regulations.

What are Short-Term Rental (STR) Accommodations?

The term “Short Term Rental” or “Short Term Accommodation” typically describes residential dwellings which are rented over a short period of time (e.g. less than 30 days) for monetary gain. It is recognized that the use of a dwelling for a STR can take many forms ranging from a resident of the property who, from time to time, rent out the dwelling while on holiday themselves, to owners of property who continually rent the property out as an investment income.

While traditional ‘Bed and Breakfasts’ establishments have long been recognized, and permitted, within the Township’s residential areas, including along the waterfront areas within Minden Hills, these establishments are characterized by the caretaker being on-site, and limited to three guest rooms.

Why is the Township Undertaking this Review?

The proliferation of Short Term Accommodation, is a relatively recent phenomenon. In their 2017 Second Home Study, the District of Muskoka identified that 7.3% of owners of second homes rented their property out with the average property being rented for 6.4 weeks per year. However, despite the popularity and general acceptance of STRs, the Township’s Zoning By-law does not permit this land use. Further, given concerns for water quality the Township wishes to ensure that septic systems are being used in accordance with their designed capacity.

What would be the Benefit to Regulatory By-laws?

Regulatory By-laws specific to STRs could come in two forms: Zoning By-laws authorized under the Planning Act, and Licensing By-laws authorized under the Municipal Act.

Zoning By-laws can be used to permit or restrict the use of land for STRs to certain areas, which could be permitted subject to certain restriction on lot frontage, lot area, parking requirements, and certain other criteria. A Zoning By-law would allow for as-of-right permission for all individuals to engage in a specific use where it is permitted; however it can not be used to establish performance criteria (e.g., to require fire extinguishers, to require emergency contact information be provided, etc.).

Licensing By-laws can be used to require a business to obtain a license to undertake a specific activity. Issuance of a license can be made conditional upon certain criteria (e.g., septic review, electrical inspection, etc.) and can require the license holder to adhere to certain performance standards (e.g., maximum occupancy, availability of a contact person, etc.). Licensing By-laws can be used to incentivise orderly conduct as a system of demerit points leading to license suspension could be incorporated into the licensing system.

While a licensing By-law may require fees associated with the license, the fees charged would be limited to the cost of administering and enforcing the licensing regime. The municipality has no ability to change the tax rate of properties used as STRs.

How Can I Participate?

The Township of Minden Hills encourages your input, over the course of the review there will be a number of opportunities to participate.

Online Survey – Open until Tuesday, October 16, 2018

At this time, we welcome the public to fill out the online survey. The purpose of the survey is to gain feedback from the public regarding perceived issues, and potential regulation for Short Term Rental Accommodation.

Click Here to Fill out Survey

General Information:

  • The survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete
  • All results will be completely anonymous
  • Surveys will be accepted until October 16, 2018

Past Events

Saturday, July 21, 2018 – Open House – Presentation Material


For more information on the project or to be added to the mailing list for future updates, please contact:
Ian Clendening, MPl., Planner, 705-286-1260 Ext. 206, iclendening@mindenhills.ca