Frequently Asked Questions - Short Term Rental Compliance Program

Short Term Rental Compliance Program

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BACKGROUNDER

Council approved this program on December 21, 2020, through Report CS-20-027 - Short Term Rental Licensing By-law Amendment, which recommended that the acquisition of a third-party Short Term Rental compliance and data collection service be approved at an estimated annual cost of $45,000 for a pilot program to be administered in 2021.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who is the third-party the Town has hired to implement this compliance program?
What is this new program and why does the Town need it?
How does this program benefit the Town?
What role do local By-law Enforcement Officers play with respect to this new program?
If a complaint is made against my Short Term Rental, how will I be notified and how am I required to respond?
Will Short Term Rental guests be advised of a complaint filed against them?
Are there fees associated with the complaint process?
Is there a limit to how many times a complaint can be filed against a property?
How do I confirm whether or not a Short Term Rental is licensed?
How do I file a complaint against a Short Term Rental, or report a Short Term Rental operating without a license?
Am I able to file an anonymous complain against a Short Term Rental?
Who should I contact if I have questions regarding this program?

 

Who is the third-party the Town has hired to implement this compliance program?

The new Short Term Rental Compliance Program uses Granicus’ govService Host Compliance, a service that specializes in helping local governments manage Short Term Rental compliance and enforcement.

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What is this new program and why does the Town need it?

The new Short Term Rental Compliance Program provides a service that specializes in helping local governments manage Short Term Rental compliance and enforcement. With an increasing number of complaints filed against Short Term Rentals in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this pilot program will support local By-law Enforcement Officers and provide increased service to the community through the provision of 24/7 support for complaint resolution.

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How does this program benefit the Town?

The new program provides a reliable way for residents to help ensure compliance of the Short Term Rental properties in their neighborhood by providing a 24/7 hotline and online system whereby members of the public can easily report Short Term Rentals that may not be compliant with the Town’s Short Term Rental By-law. Complaints regarding problematic activities and conditions, such as excessive noise, illegal parking, or overflowing trash, can all be made through this new program.

Additionally, Granicus’ govService Host Compliance provides assistance and oversight in monitoring Short Term Rentals within Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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What role do local By-law Enforcement Officers play with respect to this new program?

The new program is not intended to replace existing By-law enforcement efforts, but rather enhance them. By-law enforcement Staff will have the ability to use the additional reporting tools provided through the Host Compliance system to better monitor and enforce Town by-laws. The new program will look to provide the evidence and materials needed to successfully lay charges against non-compliant operators.

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If a complaint is made against my Short Term Rental, how will I be notified, and how am I required to respond?

When Host Compliance operators receive a complaint, the operator will notify the owner or property manager of the property using the contact information provided to the Town through the licensing process. The owner and/or property manager will be required to respond within 45 minutes of being contacted by Host Compliance operators (as per Section 9 (c) of the Short Term Rental By-law 4634-13, as amended). Host Compliance operators will follow up with the complainant to confirm that the issue has been rectified.

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Will Short Term Rental guests be advised of a complaint filed against them?

No. Short Term Rental guests will not be contacted directly by Host Compliance operators. Depending on the nature of the complaint, guests may be contacted by the owner or property manager in order to address the complaint.

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Are there fees associated with the complaint process?

There are no fees associated with filing a complaint through Host Compliance. Operators may be subject to fines depending on the nature of the complaint and the response required to address the concern.

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Is there a limit to how many times a complaint can be filed against a property?

There is nothing in place that limits the number of complaints that can be filed against a property. However, a license to operate a Short Term Rental may be revoked, suspended, or made subject to special conditions by the Town Clerk for any breach of the provisions of the Short Term Rental Licensing By-law, and/or any breach of the provisions of any other Town By-laws or regulations. 

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How do I confirm whether or not a Short Term Rental is licensed?

Visit the Town's website at www.notl.com/content/short-term-rentals for a detailed list of licensed operations.

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How do I file a complaint against a Short Term Rental?

To file an online complaint against a Short Term Rental in Niagara-on-the-Lake, please visit secure.hostcompliance.com/tips/type or call 435-STR-HELP (435-787-4357) (toll-free) or 289-210-7226 to speak directly to a Host Compliance operator. Provisions for supplying documents and/or pictures are provided, as required. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and complaints are responded to immediately.

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Am I able to file an anonymous complain against a Short Term Rental, or report a Short Term Rental operating without a license?

Contact information is required; however, complainants’ information is kept confidential, and a complainant’s name will not be revealed. The information is protected by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. In instances where a complainant is required to give evidence in court, his or her identity will be revealed.

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Who should I contact if I have questions regarding this program?

Questions regarding Short Term Rental licenses can be directed to clerks@notl.com or 905-468-3266.

Questions regarding the Short Term Rental Compliance Program can be directed to support@granicus.com.

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