PEI

Renting a room or house to tourists on P.E.I.? 8 things you need to know

The rise of services like HomeAway and AirBnB has made renting out a room — of full home — to tourists easier than ever, but Islanders should be aware that the P.E.I. government regulates the tourism industry.

The P.E.I. government has rules for tourism operators

If you want to rent out a room to tourists on P.E.I., certain rules apply. (Beyond Time/Shutterstock)

The rise of services like HomeAway and AirBnB has made renting out a room — of full home — to tourists easier than ever, but Islanders should be aware that the P.E.I. government regulates the tourism industry.

HomeAway reports a more than 100 per cent increase in Islanders listing on its service since 2013.

AirBnB did not provide a current provincial breakdowns of numbers, but says it has 65,400 hosts in Canada, however from 2015 to 2016 on P.E.I., the number of Airbnb listings doubled from 154 to 300.

Both HomeWay and AirBnB recommend that their hosts abide by local regulations — of which P.E.I. has.

"Tourism is a very important industry to our province," said Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Heath MacDonald. "We have a very important industry and we want to maintain that standard."

If you're planning on offering up a room or a cottage for rent on one of these services, here are eight things to keep in mind.

1. You need to get an inspection done

MacDonald said anyone wanting to rent out their home should contact his department to set up an inspection.

The inspection will focus mainly on cleanliness, state of repair, and safety. There is a $265 fee for an initial inspection.

2. Get your water tested

If you are not on municipal water you need to have your water tested before you open and every three months while you are operating.

"You know, we do not want or we do not need someone operating illegally and providing bad water to guests, or something to that effect," said MacDonald.

3. You need a licence

The annual licence fee starts at $212 for 1-4 units. You will be re-inspected every year.

And MacDonald said if you don't have that license, you could be subject to a crackdown.

"We do have enforcement officers that go review websites and are in contact with any property may not even be aware that they have to be licensed," he said.

4. You'll get a plaque

Following a successful inspection and registration, you'll get a plaque to let visitors know you've met the standard.

5. You can't just serve anything for breakfast

In order to call yourself a bed and breakfast, you have to serve a minimum of three items for breakfast. You may need a food service licence.

6. You need to report how you're doing

The government requires you report your occupancy levels so it can keep track of the industry.

7. Your municipality may apply a charge

Some municipalities have a room levy to raise money for marketing.

8. This means you

On P.E.I., registration is mandatory for anyone renting out accommodation for less than 30 days, even if you are just renting out your house for a week while you vacation somewhere else.

With files from Jesara Sinclair and Mainstreet P.E.I.

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