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Newmarket's new short-term rental rules ban 'party palaces' for now

Only room-rental short-term rentals allowed during first phase of licensing regime
20191211 STR residents concerned kc
A group of residents share concerns with Newmarket staff about Airbnb-type short-term rentals at a Dec. 10, 2019, public meeting. Kim Champion/NewmarketToday

Tough new rules and regulations around Airbnb-type short-term rentals are now in force in Newmarket which, for the time being, does not allow entire homes to be rented to guests.

During the first phase of regulation, only room-rental short-term rentals are permitted to operate. Entire home rentals will be considered when zoning amendments are proposed at the end of 2020.

The licensing regime follows significant public consultation and a survey on the subject that found almost two-thirds of respondents calling for an outright ban on these types of accommodations.

READ MORE: Parties, noise, parking, safety all concerns for Newmarket residents

Short-term rentals are a growing industry, and residents voiced concerns about the potential negative impacts on their neighbourhoods, including parties, noise, parking and safety.

An Oct. 4, 2019, a fatal shooting at a short-term rental house on Colter Street in Newmarket’s Sawmill Valley neighbourhood near Yonge Street and Mulock Drive prompted the swift crackdown on an industry that was previously unregulated in the town, and had grown to hundreds of local listings on online platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

In response to citizens’ concerns, a demerit-point system will be in place that requires short-term rental operators to comply with all town bylaws. 

Licences can be suspended or revoked if operators do not comply with the bylaw. This measure will help ensure short-term rentals can cohesively operate within the community, a staff report states.

The new regulations on short-term rentals include:

  • Every short-term rental requires a business licence and a sign on the property identifying it is operating as a rental.
  • Only one short-term rental is permitted on a lot or within a home.
  • One off-street parking space must be available for every bedroom for rent with another for the short-term rental operator.
  • Rentals are limited to six guests and up to three bedrooms.
  • Rentals must be operated by a permanent resident (someone who lives on site) who is also required to respond to complaints within two hours.
For more information and the full list of regulations, visit Business Licence By-law, licensing fees and the short-term rentals staff report.

Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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