Business >> Short Term Rentals

FAQs for Short-Term Rentals


Short-Term Rental Licenses are non-transferable.

Effective January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

Short-Term Rentals are only able to operate and rent to those individuals who are in need of housing. Short-Term rental operators must obtain valid verification that the individuals are in need of housing. To learn more, click here.
 

There is currently a moratorium on accepting new Short-Term Rental applications as a result of Town Council's review of land use controls pertaining to Short-Term Rentals. However, 2021 Short-Term Rental licence holders will be able to renew their licence for 2022 when the application portal opens on January 4, 2022.

2022 Short-Term Rental Program

Operators

Q: Has the Fort Erie Short-term rental Program changed since last year?
A:
Yes, significant changes have been made to the Town’s Short-term rental program, effective January 4, 2022. Full details of the updated Short-term rental program can be found in the Short-Term Rental By-law

Q: How much does a Short-Term Rental licence cost?
A: A Short-Term Rental licence costs $750.00 for a property that has one to two bedrooms and $1,250.00 for a property with three or more. 

Q: How can I stay up to date on Short-term rentals programming?
A: To stay up-to-date with the Town of Fort Erie’s Short-term rental programs, follow the Town of Fort Erie’s on social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter); check the Town of Fort Erie's Short-term rental webpage for updates; or follow the Short-Term Rental Program on Let’s Talk Fort Erie.

Q: What is the maximum number of bedrooms allowed under the 2022 Short-Term Rental program?
A:
The maximum number of bedrooms allowed for Short-term rentals in Fort Erie is three (3), with a maximum occupant limit of eight (8) people. Young children and babies count towards total occupancy amount. 

Q: What is the maximum occupancy in a Short-term rental?
A: Commencing January 4th 2022, a Short-term rental that has only one bedroom will be allowed a maximum occupancy of four individuals, two bedrooms will have a maximum occupancy of six and three bedrooms will have a maximum occupancy of eight. Young children and babies count towards total occupancy amount. 

Q: What happens if I have more than three bedrooms in my Short-term rental property?
A:
Short-term rental property owners with three or more bedrooms will be required to close off additional bedrooms and post appropriate signage on the doors. Short-term rental operators found in violation will receive 15 demerit points; an automatic licence suspension; a $1500 fine; and, must attend a hearing to determine if the Short-term rental licence should be revoked.

Q: Can we turn additional bedrooms into a yoga room or something similar like an office?
A:
No, additional bedrooms must be closed and signage must be posted declaring the room unavailable for use.

Q: How long will I have my licence spot held to apply for my 2022 licence renewal?
A:
Current Short-term rental licence holders will have until March 31st, 2022, to renew their licence.

Q: Are renters allowed to invite guests to Short-term rental properties?
A:
Guests are allowed to visit Short-term rental properties but they must leave by 11 p.m. each day. 

Q: Do Short-term rentals properties require inspections from Town Staff?
A:
Yes, annual fire and building inspections must be conducted annually for Short-term rental licence holders.

Q: Do I need to have a contact person available if there is a problem at my Short-term rental property?
A:
All Short-term rental property owners must have a local contact person who can be available (on premises) within 30 minutes of contact. 

Q: Can I transfer my existing licence (renewal) to another person?
A:
No. Existing licences can not be transferred to another person.

Q: Can I transfer my existing licence/renewal to another property?
A:
No. Existing licences can not be transferred to another property.

Q: What is considered a Short-term rental?
A:
Rental properties that are available for 30 days or less. Rental properties over 30 days are not subject to the Short-Term Rental Bylaw. 

Q: How long has the Town regulated Short-term rentals?
A:
In 2020, the Town of Fort Erie launched a Short-Term Rental pilot program requiring all Short-term rental operators to apply for a licence in order to operate legally in Fort Erie.  The program was introduced by Town Council due to a growing number of concerns from fire services, bylaw enforcement and local residents. Some areas of concern included fire safety, property maintenance and a lack of local contact.

Q: How do I obtain a licence for my Short-Term Rental property?
A: 
Licence applications can be renewed online using the Town’s licence application portal.

Q: I'm a Short-Term Rental operator. When will I be able to purchase a commercial pass?
A:
Operators of Short-Term Rentals will be contacted when Commercial passes become available for the 2022 Beach Season.

Q: I’m a new Short-term rental property owner and I don’t currently have a licence. Am I guaranteed a licence if I apply and/or pay the licence fee?
A: No. There is currently a moratorium on accepting new Short-term rental applications as a result of Town Council's review of land use controls pertaining to Short-term rentals. Only 2021 Short-term rental licence holders will be able to renew their licence for 2022 when the application portal opens on January 4, 2022.

Q: What type of property is eligible for a Short-term rental licence? 
A:
Residentially-zoned properties are eligible for a Short-term rental licence. To confirm if your property is eligible for a Short-term rental licence, please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at 905-871-1600.  

Q: When will I receive my renewal notice/be prompted to renew my 2021 Short-Term Rental licence for 2022?
A: 2021 Short-term rental licence holders will receive an email before the application portal opens on January 4, 2022 with additional program information. There is currently a moratorium on accepting new Short-term rental applications as a result of Town Council's review of land use  controls pertaining to Short-term rentals.

Q: What information am I required to provide my renters?
A:
 Short-term rental operators are required to inform all renters of the proper Fire Evacuation Plan including an escape plan. In addition, all renters must receive a copy of the Town’s Guest Rules information sheet, which contains information about Town bylaws such as recreational open-air burning, parking, noise, waste collection, tent and/or trailer-use.

Q: What safety measures are required to obtain/retain a licence?
A:
 As an operator, you are required to provide your guests with:

  • Contact information of your designated 24/7 local contact in the event of an emergency.
  • An approved fire evacuation plan posted on the back of each bedroom door. See the evacuation plan template on the Towns website for more information on what is needed for approval.
  • Working smoke alarms on each level and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms outside of each sleeping area.
  • Portable fire extinguishers of a minimum size 2A:10BC (5 Pound) located in an easy, accessible location on each level of the home, not in cupboards, cabinets or closets.
  • Bedroom windows free of obstruction.

Q: What if my renters want to have a recreational fire?
A:  
Short-Term Rental operators must provide their renters with a designated burning area or device on the property. Providing renters with proper burning material will also increase burn safety. Please reference Town Open-air Burning By-law for more information.

Q: Am I responsible for garbage and recycling collection?
A:
 Operators must properly inform their renters with information about Niagara Region’s waste and recycling program including collection days.

Q: Can I advertise my Short-Term Rental?
A:
 Operators are permitted to advertise their Short-Term Rental(s) with a valid licence. A paper copy of their licence must be posted inside the rental in a prominent location and must remain in that location permanently.

Q: What are demerit points and how do I as an operator incur them?
A:
 Demerit points are given to any operator who fails to comply with any of the rules outlined by the Town of Fort Erie’s Short-Term Rental By-law.

Q: How long do demerit points last?
A:
 Demerit points remain in place until the two-year anniversary date of when the points were issued.

Q: How many points can I incur before disciplinary action happens?
A:
 If the total of all demerit points respecting a Short-Term Rental is seven (7) or more, an owner is required to provide Economic Development & Tourism Services written steps on how they intend to mitigate further instances of awarding demerit points. If the total of all demerit points respecting a Short-Term Rental is fifteen (15) or more, the owner’s Short-Term Rental licence will be suspended effective immediately upon issuance of the last demerit points and the owner will be required to attend a Hearing to determine if the Short-Term Rental licence should be revoked.

Q: Do I have to renew my licence every year?
A:
 Yes. Any operator of a Short-Term Rental must renew their licence annually.

Q: How long is my licence valid for?
A:
 A licence for a Short-Term Rental is valid from the date it is issued until it expires on December 31 of the same calendar year it was issued. Operators looking to renew their licence will have until March 31, 2022, to reserve their licence with the Town of Fort Erie.  

Q: Which email address will I receive my renewal notice?
A:
The email you used when you made your 2021 application.

Neighbours

Q: Where can I find registered Short-Term Rentals in my neighbourhood?
A: 
A list of registered Short-Term Rentals can be found on the Town's Business Directory at https://www.forterie.ca/resource/eservicesBusiness.xsp?filter=STR

Q: What if renters are not following Town by-laws?
A: 
If you are experiencing renters who are not following by-laws, please call the Town of Fort Erie By-law Enforcement at 905-871-1600, ext. 5216. If your complaint falls outside of office hours, please call the non-emergency number for the Niagara Regional Police at 905-871-2300.

Hours of Operation

  • May 1 to September 30 – Monday and Tuesday (8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Wednesday to Friday (8:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.) or Saturday and Sunday (10:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.)
  • October 1 to April 30 – Monday to Friday (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Q: Are renters allowed to put up a tent and/or use a trailer for sleeping accommodations on the Short-term rental property?
A: Renters are not allowed to set up tents or use a trailer for sleeping accommodations on the property.

Renters

Q: How many people can be in one Short-Term Rental property?
A: 
Commencing January 4th 2022, a Short-Term Rental that has only one bedroom will be allowed a maximum occupancy of four individuals, two bedrooms will have a maximum occupancy of six and three bedrooms will have a maximum occupancy of eight. Young children and babies count towards total occupancy amount.

Q: I am from outside of Fort Erie. Can I still come to the beach?
A: 
Yes. After Labour Day of this year (i.e. September 6, 2021), beachgoers will not be required to present a Beach pass in order to access Bay Beach. Information on the 2022 Beach Season will be provided at a later date.

Q: Can we put a tent and/or trailer on the property for other guests to stay in?
A: 
No, there is no outside sleeping permitted on the Short-Term Rental property.

Q: Are we, as renters, responsible for putting out waste and recycling bins for collection?
A:
 Yes, you will be responsible for putting all garbage and recycle bins out for collection on the correct day. That date should be provided to you by your Short-Term Rental operator.

Q: Are we allowed to have a fire on the property?
A:
 Yes, when a temporary ban on open air burning is not in effect, open-air burning is allowed but we highly recommend that renters read up on the Town’s Open-air Burning By-law to learn the details of the bylaw.

Q: Where are we allowed to park when staying at our short-term rental?
A:
 The Town offers plenty of on-street and lot parking. Please speak with your Short-Term Rental operator for parking options and guidelines.

Q: Are we allowed to set off fireworks? 
A: Only consumer fireworks and only on the specific days that are indicated in the Fireworks By-law.