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Short term Rentals

by Niagra27,

Hello,

I find the bylaw restricting short term rentals here in Niagara on the Lake absurd and plainly discriminatory to those who have bought newer homes in the area. Apparently only licensed dwellings can adhere to these types of rentals such as B&Bs with licenses, hotels and motels, and fully detached homes more than 4 years old.

How is it that the Town is growing at an enormous pace with new development of semi detached homes, town homes, and some condos, but the town restricts short term rentals? The Town representatives should revisit this stagnant bylaw.

I understand the Town heavily relies on tourism for its budgets. Would not opening up a program other bylaw or amending the current one, as for owners of certain dwellings such as semi detached homes and townhomes or better yet newly constructed homes an opportunity to apply for licenses under stricter guidelines ,such as the licensing process in place now.

Tourists are paying an excess of 250 to 450 dollars and more per night for one room in the high season with very limited space available. I find this monopoly for the Hotel Industry and the B&BS is simply outrageous!

Niagara on the lake is a wonderful place to visit. As I mentioned the area is growing fast and it incomprehensible that the Town pleads for extra funding in many other areas such as taxes, but will not see to it that one of its biggest revenues is there tourism industry. Tourists or Visitors should have a better choice of were they can stay, enjoy and spend more on the Towns offerings rather than the limited expensive overnight stays currently available. It would be good to know if this issue would be brought up in the near future for consideration.

Frustrated Owner of a new build in Niagara on the Lake!

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MeganHaghi 10 months ago
I strongly agree with many other hosts like Jeff. My husband and I are two professionals who have travelled to the Niagara Region, particularly NOTL at least 5-7 times a year before we decided to invest in a small property for our retirement years and have called it our second home for the past 4 years. As Jeff mentioned, with consideration of the high property tax, utility, insurance, internet and other costs, we realized that short-term rental income can support and supplement offsetting some of the costs. Applying for a short-term license and being a responsible host is not an easy task and requires time and financial commitment. Council and the Town officials cannot back date laws based on a performance of a few unlicensed owners. If this amended bay-law goes into effect, the tourism industry in the Niagara region may see a great decline affecting many local businesses. I have been a Super Host by Airbnb for third consecutive years, hosted over 200 guests locally and internationally, with 4.9 Star rating reviews. This should tell a lot about the host services, and the positive contributions we have made to the local NOTL businesses, and tourism industry while investing in real estate market in this region. Additionally, real estate investors heftily contribute to the job creation for many service providers and trades in Niagara and St. Catherine including Cleaning services, laundries, telecommunication, landscaping and food businesses, adding more revenue to the town’s pocket extra money generated from tourism industry and real estate tax. Speaking from a resident prospect, but also as a member of Ontario Tourism Education Corporation myself, I always could see the potential for growing in tourism industry in Niagara region prior to COVID. Thanks to COVID, the hospitality and tourism industry hit harder than expected. I wish the council would have hired some working groups in the past 3-4 years to invite experts from tourism and hospitality industry to generate new ideas on adding positive revenue to the town of Niagara-on-the-lake, instead of echoing some isolated cases that will impact our growing industry in this beautiful tourist town. Frankly speaking, have any of us seen any significant growth or added businesses in the past 20 years in either the town of Niagara Falls or NOTL? Prior to COVID, all over the Europe, starting holiday season, the small tourist towns were filled with visitors, magnificent Christmas decorations, street vendors, music and tourists from all around the world. With so much potential in Niagara region for tourism industry, beyond October, everywhere turns into a ghost town and most businesses have to close as there barely any tourists or any initiative from the officials to boost the business activities during the months of fall and winter. We all have noticed the contribution of the real estate developers and migration of the investors to this region, which has contributed to job creation and newer communities. However, those will not be addressing the challenges that the local businesses have been facing, or build tourism capacity for a vibrant region with so much potential. Council’s decision is dishonoring to responsible hosts contributing to local business turnover, and penalizing others over the actions of few irresponsible neighbors and citizens. I would like to see the Council start looking into organizing more working groups to help the post COVID recovery process of our tourism and hospitality sector and helping those local businesses including short-term rentals. I am sure our diverse expert population of Niagara residence can bring a wealth of knowledge to the table and bring solutions forward instead of creating more barriers for tourism sector. I believe first of all, the proposed changes should not impact the existing licensed short-term operators in good standing. In addition, for any amendments to the new buy-laws, all negative impacts to the thinning hospitality sector and decline on reserved revenues for the town should be taken into consideration. The short-term license should be honored to those in good standing and the fee, should remain reasonable and fair.
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