Business >> Short Term Rentals

Short-Term Rentals for Operators


Short-Term Rental Licenses are non-transferrable.

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. This work is expected to be completed in early 2023.

As of July 18, 2022, the Council of the Town of Fort Erie implemented additional amendments to the Short-Term Rental By-law pertaining but not limited to maintaining a register of renters and overnight occupants, advertising, licence revocation and operating without a licence. Please refer to the Short-Term Rental By-law for further details. 


2022 Short-Term Rental Program

Short-Term Rentals for Operators
Fort Erie is home to many great tourist attractions. To help ensure the safety of our visitors, all Short-Term Rental owners who operate rentals such as Airbnbs are required to obtain an operating licence. 

As of July 18, 2022 Operating a Short-Term Rental without a licence may result in a $1500 administrative penalty and a two (2) year prohibition on applying for a licence from the date on which the first Penalty Notice is issued. In the event a Short-Term Rental continues to operate without a licence, the administrative penalty will increase to $2,000 for each subsequent infraction and the prohibition can be extended up to five (5) years. 

A list of registered Short-Term Rental properties is available and is updated regularly. 

Obtaining and renewing licences

The number of Short-Term Rental licences issued shall be limited to 250 in any given year with 2021 licence holders being provided the first opportunity to renew a licence by March 31st, 2022 provided the licence holder has complied with all rules (meaning 5 demerit points or less) during the previous year.

Short-Term Rental business licences must be obtained and renewed annually. A licence is valid from the date of issuance until December 31 of that year. Licence applications can be renewed online using the Town’s licence application portal.

Short-Term Rental owners are encouraged to review Fort Erie’s Short-Term Rental By-law and FAQs before applying for a licence.  

Fire Safety Plan
Short-Term Rentals are required to have a Fire Evacuation Plan on the back of each bedroom door.

Licence Fees
All Fort Erie Short-Term Rental businesses require a licence to operate. The following fees are required to purchase a licence. Each dwelling unit on each property operating as a Short-Term Rental requires a licence. 

Type of Short-Term Rentals Fee
1 or 2 Bedrooms $750
3 Bedrooms $1,250


Demerit Points and Penalties
Short-Term Rental owners found in violation of the Short-Term Rental By-law may receive demerit points and administrative penalties for each infraction given. 

Demerit points will remain in place until the two-year anniversary of the date in which they were given. 

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 and 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 licence will be immediately revoked. An Owner whose licence has been revoked may, within ten (10) days of being notified of the revocation, submit a written request to the Coordinator to appeal the licence revocation to the Hearing Officer.  

Infraction Demerits Penalties
Operate Short-Term Rental without a licence N/A  
First failure to comply   $1,500.00

Each subsequent failure to comply within twelve (12) months of first failure to comply 

  $2,000.00
Advertise Short-Term Rental without a licence N/A  
First failure to comply   $1,000.00

Each subsequent failure to comply within twelve (12) months of first failure to comply

  $1,500.00
Advertise Short-Term Rental with more than three (3) bedrooms 5 $500.00
Advertise Short-Term Rental that exceeds maximum occupancy 5 $500.00
Advertise Short-Term Rental without including Licence number 3 $75.00
Failure to Display Licence 3 $75.00
Operate Short-Term Rental without full private or municipal services 3 $100.00
Failure to have garbage in containers with lids 3 $150.00
Outside sleeping accommodations on site 3 $300.00
Non-availability of Local Contact Person 10 $500.00
Fail to maintain Renter/Occupant register 5 $500.00
Fail to produce Renter/Occupant register 5 $500.00
Obstruct Officer 10 $300.00
Fail to comply with Fire Safety Plan 10 $500.00
Noise and Nuisance 5

Penalties Imposed under By-law No. 30-09

Operate contrary to applicable Federal, Provincial and Municipal Laws 15 $1,500.00
Fail to comply with Fire Protection & Prevention Act, 1997 and/or Fire Code 15

Fines Imposed under FPPA/Code

Fail to comply with Building Code Act, 1992 and/or Building Code 10

Fines Imposed under BCA

Fail to obtain valid verification of individual’s need for housing 5 $300.00
Fail to provide current and accurate information to Coordinator 2 $150.00
Assignment of Licence 5 $300.00
Operate with open Permit or Order 10 $300.00
Property Standards Infraction 3 Fines imposed under By-law No.186-08
Fire extinguisher in enclosed compartment 2 $150.00
Operate with more than three (3) bedrooms 15 $1,500.00
Exceed maximum occupancy 10 $1,000.00
Guest(s) after 11:00 p.m. 5  $150.00

To access eServices and pay an outstanding administrative penalty please click here

Bay Beach (also known as Crystal Beach)

Fort Erie Short-Term Rental operators can purchase Commercial Season Passes for $100 each. Short-Term Rental operators must have a registered 2022 Short-Term Rental licence in order to purchase Commercial Season Passes.  

To purchase Commercial Season Passes online please visit: https://www.forterie.ca/resource/eservicesBayBeachPass.xsp.  

Please be advised that physical Commercial Season Beach passes are now available. 

 Short-Term Rental operators/owners  may:

a) Pick-up the Passes at Town Hall (1 Municipal Centre Drive) anytime between 8:30 AM -4:30PM, Monday to Friday, save and except holidays. You can bring either a printed copy of the receipt (e-mailed) or your smart phone with the e-mail on it along with photo ID for you or the person you have designated to collect the pass(es). Please contact Town Hall via phone at 905-871-1600 prior to pick-up to ensure your order is ready. 

b) Receive the Passes via Mail - Pass(es) will be sent first-class mail with Canada Post.  Please be aware that the Town will not be held responsible for delayed, lost or damaged items and we will not be in a position to reissue pass(es) for any such reasons. 
 

Contact
Please take a minute to review the bylaws referenced above as well as reference our FAQs for Operators to further better understand our Short-Term Rental program. For more information, please contact our Business Licencing Coordinator at edts@forterie.ca or 905-871-1600, ext. 2252. 

FAQs for 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 and subsequently on July 18, 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 Short-Term Rental that has one to two bedrooms and $1,250.00 for a Short-Term Rental with three bedrooms. 

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 (FacebookInstagramTwitter); 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?
A: Short-term rental 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?
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: Fort Erie Short-Term Rental operators can purchase Commercial Season Passes for $100 each for the 2022 season. Short-Term Rental operators must have a registered 2022 Short-Term Rental licence in order to purchase Commercial Season Passes. Operators can purchase the passes online or in person at Town Hall (1 Municipal Centre Drive), Monday to Friday, anytime between 8:30am-4:30pm, save and except holidays.

Q: I’m a new Short-term rental 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 and in accordance with the Short-Term Renal By-lawA 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. An Owner whose licence has been revoked may, within ten (10) days of being notified of the revocation, submit a written request to the Coordinator to appeal the licence revocation to the Hearing Officer.  

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.