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Airbnb rules coming to Oshawa

airbnb oshawa bylaw regulations


A plan to regulate short-term rentals in Oshawa is coming closer to reality after a lengthy process. Public consultations, research and collaboration with other municipalities have brought the process close to completion.


Having short-term rentals as an option for homeowners can be a way for people to supplement their income and meet the demand for affordable or unique places for visitors, provided it is done responsibly.


Other cities that are in the process of implementing rules for short-term rental (STR) properties include Ottawa and Toronto, as many other cities worldwide have had long, drawn-out legal challenges with regulating the industry.


Why regulate Airbnb in Oshawa?

Airbnb, along with other STR companies, has been the topic of many heated debates as property owners, neighbours, long-term renters, hotels and visitors all look for a solution to a problem that stems from problems that arise when there are no rules for STRs.


The problems that arise when STRs are allowed without any rules are many:

  • Lack of parking at Airbnb properties results in congestion on streets and neighbouring properties
  • Noise from short-term tenants affecting neighbours' quality of life
  • Excess garbage from short-term tenants and STR properties adding to strained collection services
  • Party houses creating problems for neighbours, police and property values
  • STR property owners that are unresponsive to complaints
  • STR properties creating shortages of long-term rental stock, thereby driving up rental prices
  • Speculators buying up housing for STR use, limiting the supply of housing, also contributing to rising home prices

What is being proposed for the Airbnb bylaw in Oshawa?

A number of things are being proposed, including the following:

  • Licensing for STR properties and owners, including a $75 application and $75 annual fee
  • STR rentals only allowed in a property owners principal residence
  • Allowing up to 4 rooms in a home to be rented
  • Allowing a maximum of 180 days of rental per year, and no more than 28 days at a time
  • Having a contact be available at the property to deal with complaints within one hour
  • Insurance, fire code and other by-law requirements like parking space and visual standards
  • Requiring hosts to provide operating data to the city
  • Fines for non-compliance - bylaw - up to $500 for operating without a license and up to $250 for other violations. Provincial Offences Act violations could range from $500 to $100,000.
Additionally, the city is exploring the possibility of requiring companies like Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway, etc. to sign a document allowing the city access to host data, and perhaps requiring those companies to self-regulate with regard to screening of hosts meeting local requirements. They would also require the companies to require hosts to publish license numbers for each listing.

Currently, there is no plan to include Bed and Breakfast operators under the program, unless they use STR companies to advertise their properties.

How many Airbnb units are listed in Oshawa?

According to a report published by the city, there were 113 Airbnb listings in Oshawa in July of 2018.

The city also reported that there were 19 complaints registered against 9 different properties that year.

Next Steps


Two meetings were held to address this matter on Feb 3, 2020 by the Corporate Services Committee and the Development Services Committee.

I will update this article as the results of these meetings are published, and the process evolves.
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