The Niagara Falls, Ontario, city council has received an update concerning its plan to enforce bylaws against illegally operated vacation rental properties. In August 2021, the Ontario Land Tribunal passed a city official plan amendment to add definitions and policies respecting vacation rental units and bed and breakfasts. Gerald Spencer, manager of municipal enforcement services, said the city has access to software that identifies roughly 1,000 illegal vacation rental units operating in Niagara Falls, and the software's rental channel identified about 80 percent from the Airbnb website, 6 percent from the Vrbo website, and 14 percent from both. He said city staff are leading a public relations campaign to spread awareness about operating a vacation rental unit without a license "to encourage voluntary compliance and education." Spencer added that staff continue to enforce mandates diligently, with nearly a dozen vacation rental properties currently before the courts. "The first offense is a fine of not more than $50,000," he commented. "A second offense, currently with our new bylaws, are a fine of not more than $100,000."
Niagara Falls Review (Canada) (08/11/22) Ray Spiteri