The Town of Bracebridge now has a short-term rental (STR) registry by-law.
Michael Mayer, Chief By-Law Enforcement Officer, explained that existing STRs will have 30 days from when the by-law was passed on Wednesday to register. Any new STRs will have to register before being allowed to operate.
STRs will be required to pay a $250 fee every year for a license. Lori McDonald, the town’s Director of Corporate Services and Clerk, says the online form that will be used by applicants to register will make it easier for the town to collect data for future decisions on STRs, while also making it easy for operators to apply for a license.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to collect a lot of data and have minimal complaints because everyone will know what’s required of them,” she told council.
Anyone caught operating an STR without a license will be fined $500, obstructing or attempting to obstruct a by-law officer will cost $500 as well, and failing to maintain required business insurance coverage will be a $200 fine.
According to a report prepared by Mayer each day of continuing offence will be considered a separate offence, so tickets could be issued on a daily basis.
The by-law gives Mayer the right to refuse to issue a license if the applicant doesn’t follow the requirements set out in the by-law, the operation of the STR may or has “created a public nuisance,” or the operation of the business is “contrary to the public interest.”
Every successful applicant will be required to maintain a minimum $2 million public or general liability insurance with the town named as an additional insured.
It was unanimously approved by council, but the by-law is pending any “minor technical amendments” required by the Ontario Court of Justice, according to the staff report.
“This is the first step in a very comprehensive short-term rental process,” Deputy Mayor Rick Maloney said. “This is just the registry piece. I know there will be a number of pieces we will be seeing, given the direction of council, the remainder of this year.”
Stephen Rettie, the town’s Chief Administrative Officer, says a consultant will be brought in to help staff with a more “wholesome” report that will be submitted to council at a later date. He said staff are in the process of putting together a request for proposals to find that consultant.
For now, Mayer said they will focus on fine-tuning the registry, which could include changes to parts of it if council feels the need. “This is just the first step in reviewing what those requirements might be in the future,” he told council.