PEI

Is that a long-term rental or a vacation? Landlords advised to know the rules

P.E.I.'s Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission wants the owners of vacation rental properties to be aware of the difference between a long-term and a short-term rental.

Property owners need to know the rules, and tenants should pay attention too

Whether an apartment or cottage is residential or vacation can depend partly on the intention of the renter. (Beyond Time/Shutterstock)

P.E.I.'s Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission wants the owners of vacation rental properties to be aware of the difference between a long-term and a short-term rental.

P.E.I. is one of the few jurisdictions in Canada that is rent controlled, says IRAC. Rent increases are limited, increases require three months' notice, and tenants can only be evicted with cause. These regulations fall under the jurisdiction of IRAC.

"Tourism products are excluded from our regulations," said Jennifer Perry, the acting director of residential rental property with IRAC, "unless the tenancy goes for 30 days or more, and then they fall squarely in our jurisdiction."

But there are plenty of properties in the province that fit both long-term and short-term definitions, properties rented short-term to vacationers during the tourist season, and long-term in the off-season.

Perry said renters should pay attention to what has happened in previous years on seasonal rentals. Rent increases are attached to the property, so a property owner can't increase rent beyond the allowable amount – 1.5 per cent for unheated residences in 2019 — whether the tenant has changed or not.

It is up to landlords, Perry said, to understand what rules apply to them.

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse," said Perry.

Tourist accommodations are not under the jurisdiction of IRAC, says Jennifer Perry. (IRAC)

"The minute you rent for over a month you are under our legislation."

While that statement appears clear, a spokesperson for IRAC said there is room for interpretation.

Signing a lease from September to April clearly falls under the Rental of Residential Property Act. But booking a cottage for five weeks in the summer, a rental that looks like a long holiday but exceeds 30 days, is more of a grey area.

"Every situation is fact-specific and it would depend upon the terms of the rental agreement and intention of the parties," IRAC wrote in a statement to CBC News.

IRAC said they have not received any complaints regarding short-term rentals.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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