Short-Term Rental Licensing Program

Please note: this licensing program takes effect February 1, 2023. However, short-term rental owners are required to register their accommodations with the Municipality this year. If you have not registered your short-term rental with the Municipality, you must register immediately as the deadline as now passed. Operating without a registration certificate is in contravention of By-Law 29-2022.

Background

On June 7, 2022, Lambton Shores Council passed By-Law 43-2022, which will require all Short-Term Rental accommodations within the Municipality of Lambton Shores to obtain an annual licence to operate. The by-law includes a comprehensive licensing program that outlines the regulations and requirements for all short-term rentals.

Program Timeline

All Short-Term Rental accommodations in Lambton Shores will require a licence to continue operating as of February 1, 2023. The licence application deadline will be staggered and phased in over several weeks. All registered STR owners will be contacted directly with more information about the application process and deadline.

Once in place, the licensing program will replace the current registration requirement that was implemented this year.*

*If you are operating a short-term rental in 2022, and you have not registered your accommodation with the Municipality, you are operating in contravention of By-Law 29-2022. In accordance with this by-law, you must register your short-term rental with the Municipality of Lambton Shores to continue operating.

Highlights of the Short-Term Rental Licensing Program

The following information is intended to provide an overview of the licensing program. A complete detailed break-down of the Licensing program can be found in By-Law 43-2022.

Definitions

Under By-Law 43-2022, Short-Term Rentals are required to be licenced to operate an STR in the Municipality of Lambton Shores.

  • A “Short-Term Rental” or “STR” means all or part of a legally established Dwelling that operates or offers a place of temporary residence, lodging or occupancy by way of a rental agreement or similar commercial transaction for a period of less than thirty (30) consecutive nights throughout all or any part of a calendar year, but does not include an Owner-occupied Short-Term Rental, motel, hotel, hospital, campground, couch surfing or other short-term accommodations where there is no payment

Owner-Occupied Short-Term Rentals are not required to obtain a licence, which are specifically defined as:

  • An “Owner-occupied Short-Term Rental” means a Short-Term Rental being offered in a primary Dwelling where the Owner or Tenant is permanently residing while the Premises is being used or operated as a Short-Term Rental, or a single legal accessory Dwelling on the same property as a primary Dwelling where the owner or Tenant is permanently residing while the Premises is being used or operated as a Short-Term Rental, and includes a Bed and Breakfast Establishment
Licensing Process and Application Fees

Short-Term Rental owners must pay an annual $500 licensing fee, which is due with their application.

A Short-Term Rental Licence is valid for one (1) year after the date of which it is issued, unless it is renewed or Revoked in accordance with By-Law 43-2022.

Steps to become a Licensed short-term rental accommodation (once the application process opens)
  1. Download and review the Short-Term Rental Licensing Application Guide
  2. Download (or print) and complete the application form
  3. Gather all additional required documents as outlined in the application checklist (included in the application form)
  4. Pay the licensing fee ($500) and submit your application online; OR deliver the application fee and hardcopies of your application package to a Lambton Shores Municipal Office
  5. The application package will be reviewed by staff
  6. Approval or feedback on your application will be provided once the application package has been reviewed
Demerit Points

In addition to the fines related to those in contravention of Municipal by-laws, a demerit point system has been established as part of the Short-Term Rental licensing program.

View the demerit point system

Demerit points are issued once a conviction is rendered, or fines are paid, and is not based on complaints to discourage frivolous or vexatious complaints against certain properties. Demerit points could also be applied where there is proof of other offenses occurring (e.g., advertising or operating without a licence, exceeding occupancy, or non-availability of Responsible Person).

Demerit points are assigned to the individual Licence, which will be unique to each individual Short-Term Rental. Demerit points remain in place for two (2) years after the date on which the demerit points were assessed.

 

Licence Suspension and Revocation

A Short-Term Rental Licence may be Suspended for a period of not longer than six (6) months if the total of all demerit points against a short-term rental accommodation is at least seven (7).

A Short-Term Rental Licence may be Revoked if the total of all demerit points against a short-term rental accommodation is at least fifteen (15).

Notice of the suspension of revocation of a Licence shall be provided to the Owner in accordance with Section 12 of By-Law 43-2022 and a Licensee may appeal the suspension or revocation in accordance with Section 9 of By-Law 43-2022.

Third-Party Monitoring Contract

A third-party compliance monitoring system will be in place beginning February 1, 2023. The compliance monitoring system will provide services like address identification of STR properties, a 24/7 hotline for STR complaints, and ongoing communication with an STR's Responsible Person to address complaints or issues that arise in relation to their STR.

Responsible Person

Short-Term Rental owners must designate a Responsible Person, which means an Agent or representative of an owner or tenant, or the owner themselves, who is responsible for managing or addressing issues in relation to the owner's Short-Term Rental.

The Responsible Person must be available to respond to concerns at the Short-Term Rental at all times, either in person or by telephone, within a period of no greater than thirty (30) minutes from the time of contact by the Municipality or Municipal Agent (third-party monitoring system). Failure to do so may result in By-Law Enforcement responding and issuing tickets for by-law violations.

Occupancy Limits

The maximum occupancy permitted for all Short-Term Rentals is determined by reference to the number of Bedrooms in the Short-Term Rental.

The maximum occupancy shall not exceed two (2) Persons per Bedroom, plus a total of two (2) Persons, to a maximum of ten (10) Persons per Short-Term Rental. Children who are aged 12 and under at the time of the rental shall not be included in the occupancy calculation.

Example: a Short-Term Rental with three legal bedrooms can have a maximum occupancy of 8 Persons (not including children ages 12 and under)

Parking Requirements

Short-Term Rental owners must provide a Parking Management Plan with their Licence application and comply with the following regulations:

Minimum parking requirements for a Short-Term Rental:

  • One (1) space when the Short-Term Rental is occupied by one (1) to four (4) Renters;
  • Two (2) spaces when the Short-Term Rental is occupied by five (5) to ten (10) Renters

Parking Space Specifications:

  • Parking spaces must be a minimum of 2.7 m by 5.5 m per space
  • The parking surfacing must be asphalt, gravel, concrete, or another similar hard surface and cannot be grass or other landscaped space.

The parking spaces may be provided on the Short-Term Rental Premises or alternatively off-Premises on a site within 1,000 m of the Short-Term Rental, or to the satisfaction of the Municipality.

Proof of Liability Insurance
Short-Term Rental owners must provide proof of insurance which includes a liability limit of no less than two million dollars ($2,000,000.00) per occurrence for property damage and bodily injury and identifies that a Short-Term Rental is being operated on the Premises.
Plan For Fire Safety

Short-Term Rental owners must provide a Plan for Fire Safety as part of the Licence application. This plan includes a layout of the interior of the Short-Term Rental with locations of all smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, and exits.

The Plan for Fire Safety must be displayed in a prominent place in the Short-Term Rental.

Site Plan
A site plan, drawn to scale and fully dimensioned of the Short-Term Rental Premises, including the location, dimensions, and surfacing of the parking area, landscaping, and all buildings or structures on the land, as well as septic and well locations if applicable.
Septic Requirements

If the Dwelling is on a septic system, Applicants must include proof of septic maintenance,
inspections, and pump-out servicing within the last three years.

Garbage and Waste

All Short-Term Rentals must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition with adequate measures for the storage and disposal of garbage and waste. Adequate measures for the storage and disposal of waste can include a self-enclosed building, structure, or container that is located outside of the Short-Term Rental, which is of a sufficient size to store the garbage and waste generated by the Premises.

Garbage and recycling bins are to be placed at the road no earlier than 5:00 p.m. on the evening before collection.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the Licensing program be implemented?

Council passed By-Law 43-2022 on June 7, 2022. The Licensing program will be in effect as of February 1, 2023.

When do I need to submit my Licence application?
The Licence application deadlines will be staggered and phased-in over several weeks. All registered Short-Term Rental owners will receive direct communication regarding the Licensing program, application process and application deadline.
How do I submit my Licence application?
Information regarding the application process will be available soon. The application process will be available online through the completion of an application package to be submitted by email or as hardcopy in-person.
What happens if I don't apply for a license, or operate a short-term rental without a license?

Offence and penalty provisions are outlined in Section 15 of By-Law 43-2022, which states:

15.1 Every Person who contravenes any of the provisions of this by-law, and every director of a corporation who concurs in such contravention by the corporation is guilty of an offence and on conviction liable to a fine not exceeding $25,000 for a first offence and $50,000 for any subsequent offence.

15.2 Where a corporation is convicted of an offence under this by-law, the maximum penalty is $50,000 for a first offence and $100,000 for any subsequent offence.

15.3 Pursuant to section 447 of the Municipal Act, 2001 where an Owner is convicted of knowingly carrying on or engaging in a business in respect of any Premises or part of any premises without a Short-Term Rental Licence, or a Person is convicted of any other contravention of this by-law and the court determines that the Owner of the Premises or part of the Premises in respect of which the conviction was made know or ought to have known of the conduct which formed the subject-matter of the conviction or any pattern of similar conduct, the court may order that the Premises or part of the Premises be closed to any use for a period not exceeding two years

Are Bed and Breakfast establishments considered a short-term rental?
Bed and Breakfast establishments are considered "Owner-Occupied" under the Short-Term Rental Licensing By-Law and therefore do not require a licence. 
What does the "Responsible Person" do?

The Responsible Person(s) must be available at all times when the Short-Term Rental is being used.  If they are contacted because of an issue, they have 30 minutes to make contact with those renting the accommodation to resolve the situation. This can be texting, calling, or visiting the Premises.

This process is intended to provide the Short-Term Rental owner and/or Responsible Person an opportunity to resolve the issue before escalating to By-Law Enforcement.

If the issue cannot be resolved by the Responsible Person, By-Law Enforcement will be notified.

What if the "Responsible Person" is unavailable? Can I have more than one?

Yes, you can provide multiple contacts for a Short-Term Rental's Responsible Person. It is recommended that each Short-Term Rental have at least two people listed (the owner and another individual).

A Responsible Person could also be a property manager or family member who lives nearby.

Was there public consultation before passing this by-law?

In February 2021, Council directed staff to develop a consultation process in order to identify issues which could be addressed by a short-term rental regulatory program. An extensive public consultation process began with a public survey to gather input, perspectives, and experiences related to short-term rental accommodations in Lambton Shores.

The consultation process then focused on stakeholder workshop discussions, which included short-term rental operators, local business owners, neighbourhood groups, motel operators, and emergency services.

Learn more about the consultation process

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