Charlottetown delays short-term rental bylaw

The City of Charlottetown is pushing back the date of a short-term rental bylaw, scheduled for next month, to March of 2020.

City watching lawsuit over similar bylaw in Toronto

'We will have regulations in place by the next tourism season,' says Coun. Greg Rivard. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The City of Charlottetown is pushing back the date of a short-term rental bylaw to March of 2020.

The bylaw was supposed to take effect next month. The bylaw will regulate rentals of a dwelling unit or a portion of a dwelling unit for a period of less than 30 consecutive days.

The delay comes at a request from the planning and heritage department to city council to allow time for data analysis, industry research and additional public consultation.

"We've always maintained that finding the right balance is paramount," said Coun. Greg Rivard, chair of planning and heritage committee. 

"[Council] talked about the information that we're getting in. We want to make sure that it's accurate, it's fair and that it's the best possible bylaw that we can put in place that's meaningful and something that can be can be enforced."

The adoption of the tourism accommodation levy bylaw will also be delayed until the short-term rental bylaw is in place, since the two bylaws must align, the release said. That levy was originally scheduled to go in place June 1.

"They go hand-in-hand," said Rivard, saying it could be an "administrative nightmare" if the city charges a levy against a use that it doesn't regulate.

In May, the city launched a survey to gather public feedback and input, followed by a public meeting in June that was heavily attended. Since then, the city has been gathering information and working to develop regulations around short-term rentals in Charlottetown.

Watching court case

Rivard said the city is also keeping an eye on what's happening in Toronto. Its short-term rental bylaws are currently in the middle of a legal challenge.

"We're watching that one fairly closely because there's a lot of regulations that Toronto wants to put in place that we think that would be helpful for Charlottetown as well," he said.

"But we're watching closely to see that it stands up in court and that it is something that can be done."

Rivard said new regulations will be in place by the summer.

"Our goal all along was to make sure that we have a bylaw in place before the next tourism season," Rivard said.

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With files from Angela Walker