Ramara Township Licensing Short-Term Rentals

Township to hire a private security firm to track down STRs and enforce rules

Ramara Township is going to licence short-term rentals, even hiring a private security firm to track them down and to make sure the by-law is being obeyed.

A year ago, Ramara put a moratorium on short-term rentals and required they be registered.

Mayor Basil Clarke says they made the move after an area of the township ‘became a Fort Lauderdale.’

“There were four or five houses in a row that became short-term rentals owned by numbered companies and it just became party central.”

Clarke says drafting a licensing by-law was a community effort.

“There were a lot of concerned citizens with great expertise and background, so we formed a committee of volunteers that sat down and did research. Now, there are a set of rules operators of short-term rentals must abide by.”

Lawyers are going over details of the by-law while the township waits for the provincial courts to approve the recommended fines for violators, which the mayor says might run between $300 and $1,000.

The cost of hiring a private security firm to track down short-term rentals is $90,000 a year.

Clarke expects this will be revenue-neutral, as operators of short-term rentals will have to pay an annual licensing fee of $1,000. He estimates there are close to 200 short-term rentals in the township.

The mayor is quick to point out that most short-term rentals in Ramara are not a problem.

“It’s the same old thing. A few bad apples ruin it for everybody.”

A number of Simcoe County municipalities are trying to get a handle on short-term rentals, to deal with complaints from residents about noise and partying at all hours of the night.

Oro-Medonte is still in the process of developing a by-law, while Severn has asked the County of Simcoe to hold an information session on short-term rentals to see if there can be coordinated approach rather than municipalities each coming up with their own plans.