Gravenhurst to continue with short-term rental protocol
Gravenhurst Council agreed to continue with the new short-term rentals (STR) protocol, in the November 22, 2023, meeting.
According to the staff report, the Town introduced a licencing program for STRs January 1st of this year because of complaints that began in 2019 about issues such as noise, property standards, fires, and the suggestion of a formal protocol to deal with these types of rentals.
The report adds that STRs have been steadily increasing province-wide over the past several years.
Director, Melissa Halford, indicated that staff initiated the process by informing the public and STR property owners about the new licencing By-law and requirements. She said, “The educational approach was well received this year.”
The report indicates that Gravenhurst has 133 registered STRs “exceeding the estimated budgeted amount of 125.” However, staff anticipate that there are 400-500 and that the numbers will continue to grow.
The cost to licence an STR in Gravenhurst is $750 and property owners are required to renew them annually.
The Town relies on a complaint-based system for tracking STRS that are operating without a licence.
Councillor, Sandy Cairns, raised concern about property owners that only rent from May to October paying the same annual rate as those that rent out year-round.
Halford advised that majority of STR operators rent during all four seasons.
Councillor, Jo Morphy, advised that the province will be initiating a new legislation for taxing STRs and suggested a partnership between municipalities for sharing information.
Councillor, Randy Jorgensen, suggested the Town consider using a third-party company for the STRs operating without a licence.
He also suggested, “Post the licence number on their Airbnb.” He said those that don’t abide by the requirements can be enforced. “It seems to me a very simple thing to do,” he added.
Halford advised the Town’s By-law requires STR operators to post their licence on the website “to show it’s a licenced operation.”
The program will continue with an updated application process that will clarify what documents are required, provide an option to pay for licencing online, and clarify deadline requirements to help prevent suspension of STRs.
Staff will report back with an update next fall.