The Short-Term Rental By-law (2021-104) is now in effect:
- Short-term rental platforms, property managers and hosts must apply for a short-term permit
- Landlords, condominium boards and housing co-op boards can also apply to register prohibitions against short-term rentals in their buildings
The Rental Housing Property Management By-law (2020-255) is now in effect:
Rental accommodation study
The study was approved by City Council as part of the 2018 budget. The need for this study came from emerging trends, including:
- Concerns about the quality and safety of private sector rental housing and how the City addresses these issues
- Increase in service requests, 34% over the last 3 years
- Growth of post-secondary institutions and the housing needs of students
- Conversion of single unit residential properties into unlicensed rooming houses and other forms of shared accommodations
- Short-term accommodation rentals (using on-line platforms such as Airbnb or Expedia)
- Review of current regulations for hotels, motels and traditional bed and breakfasts
Rental housing conditions
Emergency and Protective Services conducted a review of regulations governing private sector rental properties to address public health and safety, consumer protection, community nuisances and other areas of municipal concern.
This review included a review of policy options to address housing conditions, student housing, rooming houses, and shared accommodations.
Rental housing related by-laws
Approximately a third of Ottawa’s residents live in rental housing. For some, rental housing brings unwelcome challenges based on the quality, availability and affordability of rental units that meet their needs.
Tribunals Ontario regulates most aspects of the relationship between tenants and landlords. The City of Ottawa enacted by-laws which directly or indirectly regulate rental housing.
- The Building By-law (2014-220) regulates the administration and enforcement of the Ontario Building Code Act, 1992 respecting the construction, renovation, or any change of use of buildings and designated structures.
- The Heat By-law (2010-210) regulates the maintenance of adequate heat in rented dwelling accommodations.
- The Licensing By-law (2002-189), Schedule 26 Rooming houses, includes licenses and regulates rooming houses.
- The Property Maintenance By-law (2005-208) regulates the clearing and cleaning of refuse, debris or snow and ice from all properties.
- The Property Standards By-law (2013-416) prescribes standards under which properties are to be maintained. This by-law regulates residential properties, non-residential properties, vacant buildings, vacant lands, open space land, and Heritage Properties.
Through the Rental Accommodations Study, the City considered whether updates to these by-laws or new by-laws are required to effectively manage public health and safety, consumer protection and community nuisances related to rental accommodations.
The emergence of short-term rentals in private dwellings through online platforms have changed the landscape of the hospitality industry.
The rapid growth of short-term rentals has brought new problems:
- neighbourhood disruption from “party houses”
- units devoted full time to short-term rentals remove housing supply and contribute to higher long-term rents and housing prices
- short-term rentals cause problems for landlords and condominium boards who do not want them in their buildings and
- safety concerns related to overcrowding
2019 public consultations
Three public consultation periods were included in the study where City staff met with local advocacy organizations, service providers and industry associations.
Consultation 1 – June 30, 2019
Twelve public workshops were held, as well as a series of meetings with stakeholder groups to identify community concerns related to rental housing conditions, short-term rentals, and student housing and shared accommodations. Residents were also invited to complete an online survey and comment form.
Consultation 2 – September 4, 2019
This consultation asked residents to consider policy options to address the community concerns identified in Consultation 1.
Consultation 3 – October 4 – 18, 2019
Members of the public were invited to consider and asked to express their views on key findings by staff. This consultation informed the staff recommendations to Council.
Reports to Committee and Council
On November 15, 2019, the Rental accommodations study report was presented at the Community and Protective Services Committee. The Rental accommodations study report was approved at City Council on November 27, 2019 with minor amendments.
On August 20, 2020, the Rental housing property management by-law and Rental accommodation study update report was presented and approved by the Community and Protective Services Committee The report update and recommended draft by-laws were approved at City Council on August 26, 2020.
The two by-laws that were enacted in August 2020 to improve rental housing quality were the Rental Housing Property Management By-law No. 2020-255 and an amendment to the Property Standards By-law No. 2013-416.
On April 22, 2021, the Short-term rental regulations report was presented to the special joint meeting of Community and Protective Services Committee and Planning Committee. The Short term rental by-law report and supporting documents were approved at City Council on April 28, 2021.
Council approved measures
- A $500 re-inspection fee for non-compliant properties was approved by Council in December 2019 and implemented in February 2020
- The Rental Housing Property Management By-law (2020-255) establishes basic standards for the operation of rental housing units
- Amendments to the current Property Standards By-law (2013-416), including new pest and vermin control regulations with standards and obligations for both landlords and tenants
- Two additional by-law enforcement officers hired to undertake focused enforcement of property standards and property maintenance matters at problem addresses
- Improved tracking mechanisms to better monitor rental housing quality
- An online searchable database is being developed to display the history of property standards and maintenance violations at municipal addresses
- All short-term rentals require a permit from the City, at a cost of $110 for two years
- Short-term rentals can only be advertised on registered platforms
- Platforms are required to submit data to the City and must remove illicit listings when directed
- Hosts are required to inform guests about municipal by-laws
- A new by-law enforcement team has been established to investigate and enforce by-laws at short-term rentals
- The City is actively monitoring more than 65 short-term rental platforms to identify and resolve case of unpermitted rental activity
Studies and reports
Review background studies used to inform public policy development related to key rental housing issues.
The issues facing rental housing are complex and often interrelated.
This is why the City has taken a holistic approach to its examination of rental accommodation regulations, supported by extensive research on Ottawa’s rental market.
On this page you will find key reports either commissioned or conducted by the City in support of this study.
Literature Review and Multi-jurisdictional Environmental Scan (PDF) (Prism Economics and Analysis)
This report provides an overview of leading academic and policy papers on rental housing issues from around the globe, with specific analysis of real-world application in multiple Canadian and American jurisdictions. This report has helped to identify promising approaches to regulation that will be considered as possible strategies to address local issues.
Rental Market Analysis (Prism Economics and Analysis)
This study provides comprehensive data about the local private rental market, including the size and condition of housing inventory, rental rates and changes, vacancy rates and housing demand. This data has been analyzed at the census tract level to provide a detailed understanding of rental conditions on a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis.
The study also provides important data about short-term rental activity in Ottawa and how it is influencing the availability and affordability of private market rental housing.
Note: Selected data from the Rental Market Analysis is also available on Open Data.
Rental Housing Conditions – Discussion Paper (PDF) (Maclaren Municipal Consulting)
This paper outlines current issues related to rental housing – the need for housing, the housing available, and the conditions experienced by tenants and landlords.
Student Housing - Discussion Paper (PDF) (Maclaren Municipal Consulting)
This paper outlines current issues related to student housing – the need for housing, the housing available, and the conflicts between some students and their neighbours.
Short-Term Rentals - Discussion Paper (PDF) (Maclaren Municipal Consulting)
This paper outlines the growth of short-term rentals within residential properties, the issues that have emerged with the hotel industry, with neighbours, and opportunities that have developed for travellers and for housing owners.
Rental Housing Policy Options Paper (PDF) (Maclaren Municipal Consulting) – August 2019
This paper presents a series of policy options based on Maclaren’s research and policy analysis as well as community input from the consultations on Rental Housing Conditions and Student Housing and Shared Accommodations.
Short-Term Rental Options Paper (PDF) (Maclaren Municipal Consulting) – August 2019
This paper presents a series of policy options based on Maclaren’s research and policy analysis as well as community input from the consultations on Short-Term Rentals (like Airbnb and VRBO) and identifies advantages and disadvantages of each policy option.
Property Standards in Rental Housing (City of Ottawa)
This report provides a ten-year history of service requests associated with private market rental units. This data provides greater understanding of the scope and nature of issues facing tenants and landlords.
This report served to identify gaps in regulation and prioritize issues for policy development. It is also being used by By-law and Regulatory Services to assess service delivery, enforcement protocols and resource allocation.
Regulation of Long-Term Rental Accommodations – Final Report (Maclaren Municipal Consulting) - Sept 2019
This report includes Maclaren Municipal Consulting’s recommendations for the regulation of rental housing in Ottawa. City staff considered these recommendations and supporting arguments in the development of the recommendations and report to Community and Protective Services Committee and Council.
Regulation of Short-Term Rental Accommodations – Final Report (Maclaren Municipal Consulting) - Sept 2019
This report includes Maclaren Municipal Consulting’s recommendations for the regulation of short-term rental accommodations. City staff considered these recommendations and supporting arguments in the development of the recommendations and report to Community and Protective Services Committee and Council.