New short-term rentals pilot program starting in 2020

Town of Fort Erie press release –  During the Council-in-Committee meeting, Monday, July 8/2019, Town Council directed staff to implement a revised Short-Term Rentals pilot program starting January 1/2020 for one year. The pilot program includes by-law enforcement and a modified licensing program.

“This is a challenging issue for municipalities. On the one hand, short term rentals are an important element promoting Fort Erie in bringing tourists to town, which creates an economic spin-off for the community; on the other hand, Council has a responsibility to address the concerns of residents who may suffer negative impacts as a result of the inappropriate conduct of those few renters who are discourteous and inconsiderate. I believe that Council has struck a reasonable balance with our new short term rental regulations,” said Mayor Redekop.

The Short-Term Rental pilot licensing program will now focus solely on regulatory items related to health and safety, outdoor sleeping accommodations and ensuring the availability of a local contact person. The pilot program will be monitored over the course of a year and staff will report back to Council at the end of 2020.

During a round-table session conducted in March 2019, participants expressed their desire for a cost recovery strategy in order to lessen the financial impact on current residents. Therefore, the Town Council was also provided with options for amending the fees and charges by-law. After considering fee options provided by staff, Council approved a $300 annual licence fee for one year.

On July 15, Town Council will vote on the staff’s proposed amended by-law. The proposed amended by-law will be available online and at Town Hall on Thursday, July 11 after 3 p.m. A copy of the Short-Term Rental Recommendations Report and Short-Term Rental Supplemental Information Memo is available online and at Town Hall.

In order to support the new pilot program, an education program will be conducted during the summer months and late fall. The program will include multiple communications tactics such as direct mailers and social media.