18 unlicensed short-term rentals under the Welland microscope

Welland Bylaws staff are reviewing 18 unlicensed short-term rentals in the city, Bylaws Director Ali Khan said.

The rental investigations come nearly a year after the city approved zoning changes and the definition of short-term rentals, and passed a licensing bylaw regulating their use.

Short-term rentals, offered on online platforms such as Airbnb, Vrbo, and Flipkey, are defined as a dwelling unit rented for 28 consecutive days or less, but do not include a bed and breakfast, hotel/ motel or boarding house/lodging houses.

The zoning changes permit short-term rental housing as a secondary use in residential, agricultural and institutional zones and primary residential use in commercial zones that permit residential uses.

Their use was not permitted in the city before zoning and rule changes, but there were a handful, Khan said, adding there were noise complaints about some.

When the changes took effect on Jan. 31, 2022, only two properties submitted license applications, he said.

“We have two more applications pending.”

Khan said city staff have not received many complaints about licensed or unlicensed rentals in the city.

Complaints are usually driven by noise issues, he added.

For the 18 open cases, staff are collecting evidence before fines are issued and rental property owners are required to apply for a license.

“That’s the whole point of the rules. You cannot run a short-term rental without a license. »

License fees are set at $1,029.50, with an annual renewal fee of $75.

Rentals cannot have more than three guest rooms, are not permitted to display outdoor advertising on site, and require an additional 0.5 parking space per guest room.

Owners must show proof of a certificate of insurance, site plan, floor plan, parking management plan, fire safety protocols and electrical safety inspections. They also have more responsibility in managing their properties and could lose their license due to administrative penalties and demerit points under the regulations.

There are fines for homeowners who don’t comply with the bylaw and zoning changes, and Khan said so far the city has issued six, though he doesn’t have the dollar amount. attached to these charges.

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