Hello Airbnb Advocates!
It’s time to shed some light on a subject that comes across our desk quite often: the option to (legally) rent out your cottage, condo or home on a weekend or weekly basis, through Airbnb or similar platforms (Home Away, Cottages Canada, etc). Welcome to the Ins & Outs of Airbnb in Southern Georgian Bay!
Make no mistake, the idea of a Sharing Economy- that is, assets or services which are shared between private individuals for a fee- is no fad and is here to stay. We anticipate that Airbnb and similar platforms will continue to soak up market share from its competition- chain Hotels and Motels- as the demand for family oriented, economical accommodation increases.
So you have some cash saved up (20%), and a mortgage pre approval from the bank. What’s next? Can I just buy a home, cottage or condo that we like and throw it up on Airbnb? Could it be so simple?
Our answer to buyers considering purchasing an ‘Airbnb Passive Income Producer’, is that is very much area dependent, and there are regulations in place that must be followed- some of which are even in place to cover the landlord’s interests- Imagine that! So do your research up front, and consult those who know the ins and outs of the system.
We will focus our discussion to the areas we receive the inquires about, and our area of expertise- Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Blue Mountain, and Tiny Township. All municipalities have their own set of bylaws, and are a necessary read if you are thinking of entertaining this investment option.
What are the Restrictions?
Working from the East to West:
Tiny Township currently does not restrict short term rentals of a full dwelling. This is a key point, as there are regulations on renting out portions of your home for short periods. There has been recent implementation of a escalated fine structure, in a effort to have owners better control their visitors. Bottom line, Tiny Township is a great option for anyone looking to invest in a cottage, and subsidize their mortgage with the odd rental.
Wasaga Beach bylaws don’t allow any home or cottage with residential zoning to be rented more than once per 30 day period, period. The legal workaround is to invest into one of the condo developments which have been zoned for commercial tourism, and internal bylaws allow their owners to rent their units out on a short term basis. Alternatively, there are some groupings of detached cottages & homes that have the commercial tourism zoning, or are grandfathered in as ‘existing, but not conforming’ to current bylaws. Keep in mind, that these units are commercial businesses, and require a business license to operate, and upkeep fees will apply.
Collingwood bylaws, similar to Wasaga Beach, also prevents the use of a dwelling for short term rentals. Once again, there are some areas within the limits of the town that are zoned to allow temporary use by vacationers- but they are limited at this time. A bed & breakfast is an option, if you are willing to live on site.
The Town of Blue Mountains– Including the Village at Blue, Craigleith, Clarksburg, and Thornbury- has embraced and welcomes their tourism counterparts, and has implemented a plan to allow property owners to assist the demand in the area, by allowing them to obtain a Short Term Accommodation (STA) license for their secondary home, cottage, or condo. It’s a Win-Win plan- at least for those that understand the benefits of the Tourism Industry.
There are a number of stipulations as to which properties can be licensed, to prevent the area from being entirely taken over. This includes number of units per given radius, site service availability, parking ability, fire code requirements or retrofits- the list goes on. And don’t forget to factor in the costs (and time should you decide to take on some of the work) associated with the management and operations side of the business! To summarize, make sure all documents are in order prior to your offer submission!
All things aside, the ability to share a secondary property has allowed many to entertain an option which may not otherwise be feasible. 10-12 rentals per year could offset the cost of ownership, and make an investment like this, a very real option.
Have some questions- give us a call!