Niagara Falls looking to crackdown on the 1000 illegal vacation rentals
Niagara Falls is raising awareness about rules surrounding its vacation rental properties in the city, saying there are 1000 illegal ones operating in the city.
The illegal vacation rental units are listed on websites like AirBnb, VRBO, and Kijiji.
While rentals are allowed in the city, they must meet three requirements including being located in a Tourist Commercial, General Commercial, or Central Business zone.
They must also be licensed by the City of Niagara Falls, and have no more than three bedrooms.
“The City of Niagara Falls is committed to making our community a welcoming and inviting place for visitors. However, we remain dedicated to balancing the needs of visitors with the safety and comfort of residents as it pertains to Vacation Rental Units,” said Jason Burgess, City of Niagara Falls’ Chief Administration Officer.
The City of Niagara Falls has traditionally allowed for Bed and Breakfasts in residential areas, however, these properties differ from a traditional VRU as the owner of the property must live on site and be present when travellers come.
They must also be licensed by the City, and officials say they will be updating its bylaws in order to ensure owner-occupied vacation rental units, including B&Bs, are licensed and regulated effectively.
Beginning today, residents can use the City’s new online reporting tool at niagarafalls.ca/VRU to notify the City’s By-Law Enforcement Team of a suspected illegal VRU.
Residents can also contact the Clerks Office or By-Law Enforcement directly to file a report.