Nova Scotia

All short-term rentals in Nova Scotia will soon have to be registered

Nova Scotia will soon require anyone who operates a short-term rental, even if it’s a single room in their home, to register their property with the tourist accommodation registry.

Province ending exemption for people who rent in their primary residence

Tourism Minister Pat Dunn says changes to the Tourist Accommodation Registration Act will make the legislation easier to enforce. (Robert Short/CBC)

Nova Scotia will soon require anyone who operates a short-term rental, even if it's a single room in their home, to register their property with the tourist accommodation registry.

Tourism Minister Pat Dunn introduced the amendment Monday to the Tourist Accommodation Registration Act.

Until now, people operating a short-term rental in or attached to their primary residence had been exempted from registering the unit.

"This leaves a gap in the information we have about the number of short-term rentals operating in our province," Dunn told reporters at Province House.

"Removing the exemption will create more clarity for operators about who is required to register and make it easier to enforce the act."

Municipalities want more info

Making the change will provide precise information about the number of short-term rentals, including Airbnb units, in the province.

Prior to the introduction of the act in 2019, there were about 900 operators licensed under the former Tourism Accommodation Act, which would have included hotels, motels and inns. There are about 1,700 properties registered through the new system.

Dunn said the lack of accurate data about the number and location of short-term rentals has been a source of frustration for municipalities, some of which are attempting to regulate them through zoning and planning bylaws.

"Some municipalities might have certain areas where they would prefer to have short-term rentals, and other areas where they prefer that they don't exist," he said.

Including all units in the provincial registry should help ensure consistency across the province, as will regulations that will be developed once the amendment is passed, said Dunn.

Among other things, the regulations will support enforcement, make compliance with municipal zoning bylaws a requirement of registration, and outline penalties for people who do not register their properties.

There is an annual registration fee of $50 for people renting one to four bedrooms and $150 for five or more bedrooms. The fees have been waived in each of the last two years due to the effects of COVID-19 and they're being waived again for 2022-23.

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