The City Didn’t Issue a Single Fine for Short-Term Rentals During Ban

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A province-wide emergency order temporarily banning short-term rentals during the COVID pandemic didn’t stop bookings from continuing, especially here in Toronto.

And despite receiving nearly 200 complaints from frustrated residents, the City didn’t issue a single fine, according to a report from CBC.

At the start of the pandemic, the province enacted a temporary ban on all short-term rentals for 28 days or less, except for those provided to health-care professionals and others in need of emergency housing in Toronto.

If found breaking the emergency law, individual hosts could face fines up to $100,000, while corporations could be fined as much as $10,000,000.

READ: Ontario Lifts Ban on Short-Term Rentals

But even with the possibility of receiving a very large fine dangling in front of them, short-term rental owners still allowed people to book out their listings.

According to CBC, during the emergency order, the City of Toronto received nearly 180 complaints related to short-term rentals and yet didn’t issue a single fine.

By the end of May, CBC says 52% of the City’s completed investigations into complaints ended with bylaw officers issuing the short-term rental operators warnings that they were breaking the emergency order.

Here in Toronto, short-term rentals have often been booked out for parties or large gatherings and in multiple instances, the parties have turned violent, including a deadly shooting that occurred in a short-term rental in downtown Toronto earlier this year that left three people dead and two others injured.

As of Friday, June 5, the province lifted its ban on short-term rentals, and now rentals of lodges, cabins, cottages, homes, condominiums, and B&Bs are allowed to resume operations in Ontario.

However, now that the provincial ban has been lifted, the City says all short-term rentals must comply with the Licensing and Registration Of Short-Term Rentals bylaw that still remains in effect in Toronto.

Under the City’s bylaws:

  • People can host shortterm rentals in their principal residence only – both homeowners and tenants can participate.
  • Shortterm rentals (any rental that is for a period of less than 28 consecutive days) are permitted across the city in all housing types in residential zones and the residential component of mixed-use zones.
  • People who live in secondary suites and laneway suites can also participate, as long as the secondary suite/laneway suite is their principal residence.
  • Shortterm rental companies will be required to be licensed with the City of Toronto in order to carry on business.
  • Shortterm rental operators (people renting their homes on a shortterm basis) will be required to register with the City of Toronto.

In a news release late last week, the City noted that COVID-19 has affected its timeline for implementing a licensing and registration system for the bylaw.

“Once the COVID-19 emergency period ends and provincial orders are lifted, the City will fully resume regular enforcement of all city bylaws,” reads the release.

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