In compliance with the Town of Goderich’s Zoning By-Law, short-term rentals including AirBnBs, are not permitted.
Council decided to provide a grace period until Sept. 30 for short-term rental owners to make arrangements.
According to a memo by CAO Janice Hallahan, council was reminded what is permitted in the town’s Zoning By-Law.
Bed and Breakfast style uses in residential areas are permitted and a guesthouse requires the owner to live in the same building. This includes the rental of rooms, not the entire house.
In the memo Hallahan states that this is different from the typical operation of a full-time short-term rental such as AirBnB. This typically includes the rental of an entire unit with the owner not being on site while renters are in the house or unit.
While Coun. Jim Donnelly reiterated that the Zoning By-Law was in place to preserve the ambiance of the town, Coun. Stephen Tamming suggested a law that short-term rentals such as AirBnBs could operate in Goderich, so long as it was the primary residence of the owner.
“There are many people going out and buying houses specifically to run as AirBnBs,” Tamming explained.
“There is a law in Toronto that you can only run an AirBnB out of your primary residence.”
At the May 25 meeting council directed staff to create an education outreach program for short-term rental owners and their tenants, and how enforcement will be administered if required.
As per the Ontario Planning Act, enforcement could result in hefty fines for non-compliance for short-term rental owners. On a first conviction, owners could face owing $25,000 and on a subsequent fine, $10,000 for each day.
“I think we need to act right now and I wouldn’t want to put someone in a really tight legal position,” said Deputy Mayor Myles Murdock.
Staff members were asked to bring back a report on all options for the operation of short-term rentals in order for council to understand how short-term rentals could work in Goderich in the future.
The Town of Goderich has asked owners of short-term rentals in Goderich to bring their properties into compliance. Owners have until Sept. 30.