City of Kingston seeking public opinion as officials plan to regulate short-term rentals

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WATCH: The City of Kingston plans to create regulations around short-term rentals.

The City of Kingston is seeking feedback from residents on how short-term rentals operate within the city.

Next week, city officials are launching a survey to ask residents for their opinion on short-term rentals in Kingston.

There are currently no bylaw regulations or licensing requirements in the city for Airbnbs and other short-term rental properties, but that is likely to change. The city has been tasked to come up with a report by the end of 2019 on how to regulate such short-term rentals.

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“Short-term rentals are present in almost every city in Canada so up to this point, we’ve been having a lot of conversations with our partners and municipalities not just in Ontario but across the country to learn from them what’s been working and what has not been working,” said Ben Poirier, a licensing and enforcement co-ordinator with the City of Kingston.

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With Kingston’s vacancy rate the second-lowest in the country, the city is hoping that potential limitations on short-term rentals would free up properties for long-term rental. Currently, there are approximately 550 Airbnbs operating in Kingston, according to the city.

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The city will be looking at what kind of safety standards it wants to apply to short-term rentals in the city as well as the possibility of limiting the number of days a short-term rental can be occupied by the same tenant. City officials will also have to determine how they will enforce these standards if regulations are created.

In addition to an online survey, city officials will also be holding an open house session in order to get feedback about the licensing requirements they plan to enforce.