Municipal Regulation of Short-term Rentals

The City of Toronto is taking steps to regulate short-term rentals.  Other municipalities may not be far behind.

Short-term rentals are a growing concern in many residential communities, including residential condominiums.

The City of Toronto is proposing new regulations to control short-term rentals.  Among other things, the new regulations would

  • introduce a new land use called “short term rental”;
  • permit short-term rentals only in a host’s primary residence;
  • require licensing of companies (like Airbnb) that facilitate short-term rentals, with related licensing fees;
  • require registration of short-term rental hosts and premises, with related registration fees;
  • impose specific safety requirements for short-term rentals;
  • perhaps also introduce new taxes on short-term rentals.

It stands to reason that other municipalities may follow suit.

However, these new municipal regulations don’t change the separate rights of condominium corporations – including rights to enforce existing provisions in the corporations’ declarations or rules (prohibiting or controlling short-term rentals in the condominium) or rights to amend their declarations or pass new rules (again, prohibiting or controlling short-term rentals in the condominium).

In other words:   Although municipalities may be taking steps to regulate short-term rentals, condominium corporations will still have their own separate rights to regulate or prohibit short-term rentals in their specific communities.  Condominium corporations concerned about short-term rentals should review existing provisions in their declarations and/or rules, and may wish to consider declaration amendments and/or new rules, to regulate or prohibit short-term rentals in their condominiums.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about amendments to the Condominium Act and upcoming events .

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

We want to wish all of our clients, friends and loyal readers a Happy Canada Day!!   It will of course be a special celebration of the 150th anniversary of our marvelous nation.  We want to wish everyone joyous and safe celebrations.

And, we offer our usual reminder about the National Flag.

Our National Flag of Canada Act says (among other things) that persons in control of a condominium building (meaning condominium corporations and managers) are “encouraged” to allow the displaying of Canada’s national flag (ie. by residents of the condominium).

But of course, this does not create any entitlement to display the flag, and this also does not prevent the enforcement of the condominium’s governing documents.  So, for instance, if the condominium’s Rules prevent the displaying of flags, the condominium corporation would have the obligation to enforce those Rules – subject to any special or unusual circumstances (such as Human Rights) that might exist in a given case.

But in our view a condominium corporation could also consider a Rule to allow for the displaying of the flag (with any desired restrictions as to times, sizes, locations, etc.), as long as this is permitted by the Declaration.

Again, our best wishes to you all on this year’s special Canada Day!

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about amendments to the Condominium Act and upcoming events .

Christy Allen discusses Airbnb and Condos -Saturday morning on 580 CFRA

Listen to Christy Allen of Davidson Houle Allen speak about Airbnb and condominiums, on the June 17, 2017 Podcast on The Newsfeed with Kristy Cameron on 580 CFRA!

Find Christy’s appearance on ‘Hour 2’ of the Newsfeed on June 17, 2017 (starting at minute 22:43)

http://www.iheartradio.ca/580-cfra/shows/the-newsfeed-with-kristy-cameron-1.1818974

Christy talks with Kristy Cameron about the increasing presence of condominium units listed on Airbnb, particularly in anticipation of Canada Day and the market for accommodations in Ottawa.

Christy explains how condominium units being rented for nightly/short term rentals are a growing problem for condominiums, and such rentals may be in breach of a Condominium Corporation’s rules.

She discusses condominiums’ enforcement rights to deal with an owner or tenant renting for short term/nightly rental on websites like Airbnb, and why short-term rentals are significant concerns for Condominium Corporations, related to security, safety, community, responsibility for common elements, and use of amenities.

Christy also discusses why the recent steps to regulate Airbnb rentals in Toronto are relevant for Ottawa, and whether such steps may be useful here.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about caselaw updates related to condominiums.

Ministry Announces New Dates for arrival of Condo Law Changes

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has announced new dates for the planned arrival of changes to Ontario’s Condominium Laws.   Click here for the recent announcement from the Ministry.

Here’s a quick summary of the “next steps” noted by the Ministry:

September 1, 2017:

The new Condominium Authority of Ontario (responsible for various new administrative matters) will become effective.

November 1, 2017

The Phase I amendments to the Condominium Act will come into force.

The new licensing requirements for condominium managers will come into force.

The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (which will deal with licensing and regulation of condominium managers) will become effective.

The Condominium Authority Tribunal (which will deal with certain condominium law disputes) will become effective.

February 1, 2018

The remainder of the Condominium Management Services Act (apart from licensing matters) will come into force.

In the “near future”, the Ministry will also release:

New forms under the Condominium Act.

A set of plain language guides and fact sheets respecting the new condominium law changes.

The education and exam requirements for condominium managers.

We don’t yet have an indicated target date for the further changes to the Condominium Act (after Phase I), but we know that those changes are “in the works”.

Hold on tight.  The changes are getting closer!

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about amendments to the Condominium Act and upcoming events .

Condo Act Amendments and Common Expense Increases

At the ACMO / CCI EO Condominium Conference on June 2nd, I offered my view that the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (including amendments to the Condominium Act and the introduction of mandatory licensing for condominium property managers) will likely mean an increase in common expenses for most condominium corporations in Ontario.

In my view, common expenses can be expected to increase for at least three reasons:

1. There will be added burden on condominium property managers – for various new procedures and requirements under the Condominium Act. Condominium management fees should therefore increase.

2. Condominium managers will also be faced with annual licensing fees and other expenses under the new licensing requirements – which of course will need to be passed on to condominium corporations.

3. Condominium corporations will be required to make payments to the new Condominium Authority of Ontario – which payments are currently estimated to be somewhere between $1 and $3 per unit per month.

It’s difficult to know what sort of common expense increase this will mean for a given condominium corporation, but there seemed to be general agreement at the conference that the amount will be somewhere between $5 and $10 per unit per month.

This raises the following question:  Should condominium corporations mention this (now) in the status certificates? 

In my view, this might not be necessary (because such increases will result from circumstances that are public knowledge); but I still feel that the safe thing is to add wording to the status certificates (paragraph 12) along the following lines:

The corporation has no knowledge of circumstances that may result in an increase in the common expenses for the unit except:

The Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015, will bring some important changes to condominium law and administration in Ontario, including changes to the Condominium Act, as well as mandatory licensing for condominium property managers.  As a result, condominium management fees are expected to increase.  Also, condominium corporations will be required to make payments towards the new Condominium Authority of Ontario.   These matters are expected to result in an increase in the common expenses, and the increase is currently estimated at between $5.00 and $10.00 per unit per month. 

These changes are expected to come into force in phases, from 2017 – 2019.

Condominium corporations might also want to let their owners know about these coming increases.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about amendments to the Condominium Act and upcoming events .