UPDATE (February 22nd): Under newly announced rules, Short-Term Accommodations in the County are prohibited from renting to areas where a Covid-19 stay-at-home order is in place. This means that STA owners are cannot house anyone from Toronto, Peel or North Bay where stay-at-home orders will be in place until at least March 8th.
UPDATE (February 19th): Prince Edward County Council held a special Committee of the Whole meeting on February 18th to consider a staff report on how to move forward with STA licensing. In the end, Council voted to defer a decision into the indefinite future, meaning that the suspension of license applications for new STA’s remains in place. This is the second time that Council has deferred a decision of the issue in as many months.
At its meeting on September 1st, Prince Edward County Council temporarily suspended STA licensing, effective at 3 pm on September 30th. While the County temporarily suspends STA licensing, no new license applications will be accepted until Council completes a review of the existing licensing regulation in January 2021.
The decision can have serious impacts for buyer who wanted to apply for an STA license and whose properties won’t close until after September 30th.
To accommodate such buyers, the Municipality announced that it will modify several rules during the licensing moratorium.
License Applications Transferable
Under the current regulations, STA licenses are not transferable from the current owner to a new owner. However, during the moratorium, the Municipality will allow sellers who have submitted a completed license application to transfer the application to the new owners.
New Owners Can Renew
Likewise, where a property has already received an STA license, the Municipality will treat any application by a new owner as a renewal rather than a new application.
Expiry Of Grandfathering Delayed
Properties which were used as short-term rentals prior to October 2018 had been grandfathered under the STA licensing rules, but the grandfathered status was due to expire at the end of December. The Municipality has announced that the grandfathering will be extended by the length of the STA licensing moratorium.
Septic Capacity Not Required Up Front
Up until the pause was passed by Council, to be considered complete, an application had to include documentation proving the capacity of the septic system. However, since the pause was announced, the Municipality has decided that septic tank documentation is not required upfront as part of a complete application. Instead, information on septic capacity will be required later in the process at the time of the home inspection.
For homes under 20 years old, the Municipality has such information in its archives. For older homes where there are no records, the homeowner can have a licensed septic technician dig up the end of the tank to access the capacity information which is marked there. Alternatively, the homeowner has the septic tank pumped out and asked the pumper to note the capacity.
License or Completed Application Still Needed
Finally, even while the County temporarily suspends STA licensing, a property must either have an approved license or have a completed application under consideration by the County before the property can be used as a rental.
While the County has temporarily suspended STA licensing, staff will review the existing regulations and make recommendations for any changes. Judging from the concerns expressed at the September 1st Council meeting, “whole home” STA’s are likely to receive the closest scrutiny.