After nearly passing a bylaw to freeze all new short-term rentals (STRs), the Town of Bracebridge recently began the process of regulating STRs.
During the most recent Bracebridge general committee meeting, councillors voted to approve a Short-Term Rental Accommodation Licensing Registry.
They also agreed to put forward a proposal for set fines to the Ontario Court of Justice, which must approve them before they can be enforced in Bracebridge.
The subject of STRs has been a hot topic in Bracebridge over the past several months. Last month Bracebridge council decided not to go ahead with an outright ban on new STRs during their latest council meeting. However they did ask staff to come up with some rules for a registry, which they managed to do in a little under two weeks.
Under the new registry, owners of STRs will be asked to pay an application fee of $250 per year. The registry also provides for suspension or revocation of STRs and set fines for operating without a license, failing to maintain insurance and obstruction.
The Town is proposing a fine of $500 for operating without a license. Each day an STR operates without a license is a separate offence so they could conceivably be fined on a daily basis if they continue to operate.
Councillor Mark Quemby questioned whether there were any rules in place regarding how many people could be in one dwelling.
Bracebridge’s Chief By Law officer Michael Mayer told Council the only rules that fall into capacity requirements currently relate to septic requirements. However he told Council this is just the first step on the road to a more comprehensive set of rules governing STRs and there would be room for more changes as they went forward.
There were also questions from Council about potential rules to govern parking and the number of bedrooms required.
Mayer indicated these will all be items up for consideration as the new rules are cemented.
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