An effort to control short-term rentals appears to be working in East Ferris.
In May of 2022, East Ferris’ council – after much discussion and community consultation – passed a by-law regulating short-term rentals in the municipality. The law set guidelines for operators and property owners, with license fees, regulations on the amount of time one can rent, and other rules to follow.
“Our by-law is generally working as intended and since its passing, we’ve reduced the number of illegal short-term rentals significantly,” noted Greg Kirton, the Director of Community Services. Kirton was involved with the by-law’s drafting through each step of the process and kept track of the license applications coming in.
In 2022, two licenses were issued, and this year, five operators were granted licenses. A three-month license costs $750 and a five-month term costs $1,000. License holders must also have a minimum of two million dollars in liability insurance covering the rental periods.
“There is still ongoing enforcement required to keep up with new rentals that violate the by-law,” Kirton noted, “but things have improved significantly in the past two years, especially on Lake Nosbonsing.”
East Ferris’s by-law was the first in the region to deal directly with short-term rentals. North Bay passed its own early this year, and West Nipissing, Bonfield, Callander, and Nipissing Township, are working on their own.
Those listings, most often posted on sites like AirBnB and Vrbo, illicit strong responses from many residents. Some don’t want them at all, others resent the government getting involved in their business. As such, drafting the by-laws can be a timely and often difficult process.
Now that East Ferris’ by-law is over a year old, “we haven’t had any major issues or roadblocks with the implementation of our by-law,” Kirton said, adding that most license holders operate in the summer, and apply for a license in early spring.
For those who do not follow the rules, there are fines. Operating a short-term rental without a license will cost you $500, and operating outside of the specified calendar months (as per your license) could cost you $1,000.
However, no fines have been given out, Kirton explained. By-law enforcement has been in contact with property owners “but any issues were resolved in a timely fashion and issuing fines was not necessary in any instance.”
“The vast majority of people are respecting the outcome of the process and understand the intent of the by-law.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
By David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Oct 19, 2023 at 15:37