Short-term rentals operators in Toronto must register by December 31 to continue hosting

Short-term rental operators renting homes or rooms for periods of less than 28 consecutive days must be registered with the City of Toronto by December 31, 2020, to continue short-term renting in Toronto.

Beginning January 1, 2021, registered operators must start collecting the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT). After January 1, 2021, the City will take enforcement action against operators who are not registered or are not following the rules. Enforcement action will also be taken against short-term rental companies that allow unregistered operators to list on their platform or contravene the bylaw.

Toronto is currently in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework in an effort to reduce and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19, which began on November 23, 2020. During this time, as per provincial regulations, short-term rental reservations made before November 22, 2020 will be honoured regardless of when the rental occurs. No new reservations can be made after November 22, 2020 except for individuals in need of housing.

Despite the current restrictions, the City requires operators to be registered by the December 31, 2020 deadline to continue to short-term rent in Toronto when allowed by the provincial regulations. Registration is a mandatory step to legally rent out homes for short-term stays in the city. Operators are only allowed to short-term rent their principal residence – the residence where they live – and the address used for bills, identification, taxes and insurance.

Information and government-issued identification submitted with the application is validated by the City through a five-day processing period. Operators are strongly encouraged to register and pay the $50 fee as soon as possible to avoid last minute delays at: https://www.toronto.ca/ShortTermRentals.

Once registered, operators must include the valid City-issued registration number on all listings advertising the short-term rental and start collecting the MAT from January 1, 2021. The MAT payment is due on a quarterly basis, within 30 days of the end of the quarter. For example, the first quarter for 2021 will be January 1 to March 31, and the MAT payment will be due by April 30.

Registered operators who have not rented their property in a given quarter must still file a remittance each quarter. Operators are also required to keep a record of all accommodation transactions, including revenue collected and any exemptions that may apply during a reporting period. More information on how to submit MAT payments will be available in early 2021.

The City continues to respond to issues related to short-term rentals on a complaint basis, such as noise, waste and concerns that people are renting homes that are not their principal residence. Residents can contact 311 to report issues. Starting in the new year, complaints can be submitted to 311 online.

The current complaint-based enforcement will be supported by a data-driven enforcement approach.

  • Information that the City is collecting from operators upon registration will allow the City to validate that people only short-term rent their principal residences.
  • Short-term rental companies will be required to provide the City with data, including operators’ registration number, number of nights rented by rental type, and the address of listings, which will support efforts to ensure that short-term rental rules are being met.
  • Data scraping techniques will also be used to pull information from websites where operators post their listings, to identify issues and validate short-term rental activity in Toronto.

Short-term rental companies must ensure that all short-term rental listings on their platform have a valid City registration number. Starting in the new year, the City will begin sharing the registration number, the associated ward, and the first three digits of the postal code of registered short-term rental properties on its Open Data Portal. Short-term rental companies may validate against this list to ensure invalid or unregistered operators are removed from their platforms.

If a short-term rental operator is not compliant with the bylaws, the City will use its authority to cancel registration. If the City cancels an operator’s registration, short-term rental companies are also required to remove the operator from their platforms.

Operators not complying with the regulations are guilty of an offence and if convicted, may be liable to pay fines. Information on fines for specific offences and other short-term rental information for operators and companies is available at https://www.toronto.ca/ShortTermRentals.