City plans to crack down on illegal suite and room rentals

By David F. Rooney

The City is looking for voluntary compliance but it will be as harsh as it needs to be when it comes to illegal suites and unlicenced boarding houses and vacation homes.

“We’re really looking for voluntary compliance,” Planning Director John Guenther told Council on Tuesday afternoon. “Virtually none of them will go to court.”

Guenther said staff have come up with a procedure the City’s Bylaw Enforccement officer can use when investigating an illegal suite or room rental operation.

As with most of the city’s bylaw enforcement activities the crackdown on illegal housing will be complaints based. Once a complaint has been received the Bylaw Enforcement Officer will inspect the house in question and if he can verify an infraction a letter will be sent to the homeowner warning that he is not in compliance with municipal zoning regulations. Homeowners will be fined $200 a day for every day they do not comply with the regulations.

The City will also go after those residents who maintain unsightly premises as well as parking infractions.

If the City has to clean up any unsightly premises it will bill the owners. As for parking, the best advice is not to overstay the posted time limit.

However, the City will have some trouble going after illegal suites and unsightly premises. The Bylaw Enforcement Officer resigned last week and a new one has not yet been hired.

Still, if you are running an unlicenced rooming house or B&B you may want to get in front of this. You’ll need a business licence from the City that’s specific to what you’re doing.

A residential B&B permit costs $50 and allows you to use two bedrooms as bed and breakfast accommodation. A commercial B&B permit is also $50 but you also have to pay $4 per room used as bed and breakfast accommodation.

If you are running, or want to run, a rooming house you’ll need a permit that costs $50 and you’ll have to shell out $4 per dwelling unit.

Click here for more information on rental accommodation.

Click here for information about secondary suites.

Click here for information about secondary suites and Development Cost Charges.

Click here to see the business licence fee schedule.