Short term-rentals

*** To express opinion on Short term-rentals, please contact Mr. Marcel Marchildon, Urban Planning and Environment Director by email at opinion@villelapeche.qc.ca. *** 

New Municipal Regulation Currently in Development to Address this Form of Commercial Accommodation

During the regular meeting of the Council on August 6, 2018, elected officials tasked the Urban Planning and Environment Department with developing a municipal regulation on short-term rentals (31 days or less). Rentals through platforms such as Airbnb fall in this category.

Current municipal regulations make no distinction between short-term rentals (a form of temporary occupancy) and long-term rentals (a permanent residence). The goal of this new effort is not to make the increasingly popular form of accommodation illegal, but to regulate it. By regulating short-term rentals, the Municipality will be able to protect public safety, prevent disturbances, ensure compliance with potable water supply and wastewater management requirements, protect access to affordable housing, and promote tax equity.

The Urban Planning Department’s initial work on the issue has brought to light several important aspects that will need to be considered in the new regulation:

  • Short-term rentals can be considered commercial accommodation, because the property rented (house, cottage, etc.) is not the renter’s primary place of residence.
  • This type of accommodation is not permitted in residential or resort areas anywhere within the municipal boundaries, except for areas where “tourist accommodations” such as bed & breakfasts are allowed.
  • Commercial (or tourist) accommodation establishments are only permitted in certain areas zoned for commercial use and services.
  • A number of concerned parties, including property owners, businesspeople, and citizens’ associations, shared their comments for and against with the Municipality, and most would like to be involved in the regulation development process.
  • The new regulation will have to go through the public consultation process before it is adopted and comes into force.

Consult the filed documents tabled during the December 17, 2018 council meeting.

A draft regulation is currently being written, taking into account the many comments received, the relevant laws, recent precedent, and comparable regulations adopted in other municipalities in Québec.

Initial Information Meeting/Consultation

A public consultation was held on February 19 in Desjardins Hall at the La Pêche Sports Complex on draft amendments to the short-term rental bylaw. Some 76 people came to the meeting, which was called by the Municipality to give people a say on the issue. La Pêche is one of very few municipalities in Québec undertaking to regulate short-term rentals, although the issue is globally recognized as a key concern for cities.

The meeting had two parts: an information period in which Urban Planning director Marcel Marchildon took the floor to review the essentials of the issue, and a consultation period for people to share their views. This was the time to collect people’s comments and opinions and for them to get answers to their questions. For that side of it, a number of La Pêche partners were in attendance to help fill in any gaps. From the MRC des Collines came Louise Marchildon, support coordinator with Economic and Social Development, and François Lanthier, a chartered appraiser with Property Assessment. Also present at the head table were RPGL lawyer and La Pêche municipal attorney Jean-Charles Gendron to handle legal questions, La Pêche Director General Marco Déry as chair of the meeting, and of course Mayor Guillaume Lamoureux. Council members were also present in the assembly.

Views and comments from the consultation have been added to those received since, and even before, the release of the working draft at the Council meeting on December 17. Mr. Marchildon has received about 50 emails since he set up the opinion-sharing email account. All the communications received will serve as a basis for revising and improving the working document to develop a first draft of the bylaw, which will then be subject to a formal consultation process as laid out in theLand-Use Planning and DevelopmentAct.

The best way to arrive at a satisfactory regulatory framework that considers the realities of this community is for Council, the municipal administration and its partners, and all concerned citizens to work together—as they are in the Municipality of La Pêche.