The City is considering a residential rental licensing program for residential developments containing one to three rental units. The program, if approved by Council, would require rental properties with one to three units to meet certain standards to ensure the health and safety of renters.

A residential rental licensing program for Kingston is being considered for the following reasons:

  • To address substandard conditions in rental units;
  • To address suspected illegal rental units (i.e. those that don't comply with the City's zoning bylaws) and to overcome access and enforcement challenges for such units;
  • To ensure rental properties are maintained over time according to applicable regulations;
  • To strengthen enforcement of City bylaws, including the Property Standards and Yards Bylaws;
  • To provide a consistent assessment approach based on the same standards and requirements to ensure owners are accountable and responsible for the operation of their rentals;
  • To provide early awareness of requirements allowing proactive, cooperative compliance efforts rather than reactive enforcement; and
  • To establish a process for properties with legal non-conforming units to be required to register their units with the City and comply with Building Code, Fire Code and property standards requirements, as appropriate.

Engagement Opportunities

Online Survey

Feedback was requested via the online survey that closed on July 23, 2018.

Information sessions – July 11 & 12, 2018

Four information sessions were held over two days. These sessions provided an opportunity to learn about and offer feedback on the proposed residential rental licensing program. 

Project timeline

May 2, 2017

  • Council approval of the recommendation (within report number 17-139) to re-evaluate the concept of residential rental licensing

December 19, 2017

  • Information report to Council providing a review of other Ontario municipalities approach to residential rental licensing

July-August 2018

  • Public consultation and survey on a draft residential rental licensing program framework

August 9, 2018

  • Information report on a residential rental licensing program to the Administrative Policies Committee

November 8, 2018

The comprehensive report with staff recommendations on a Residential Rental Licensing Program went to the Administrative Policies Committee.

November 20, 2018

Council directs staff to establish a short-term rental licensing program and report back in 2019  with: a short-term rental licensing bylaw, amendments to the Municipal Accommodation Tax Bylaw to include short-term rentals and associated costs (see the council motion and minutes).

Background information

Through the consideration of an Interim Control Bylaw in the Williamsville, Sydenham and Portsmouth Electoral Districts in early 2017, Council directed staff to report back with options and recommendations to help guide appropriate infill and intensification in the three Electoral Districts. A number of short-term and long-term recommendations were brought forward by staff to address the complexity of land use and other issues that were identified. The recommendations were approved by Council at its May 2, 2017 meeting (Report Number 17-139). One of the long-term recommendations was for staff to re-evaluate the concept of residential rental licensing, building off the experience of other municipalities that have considered residential rental licensing in the past. An information report was presented to Council on December 19, 2017 with an overview of the concept of residential rental licensing and a review of other Ontario municipalities that have residential rental licensing programs in place (Report Number 18-001).

The Municipal Act, 2001, was amended in 2007 allowing municipalities to license any business or activity that is considered appropriate in pursuing the public good. Licensing of residential rental units is based on the premise that the act of renting a property is a business activity. Under the regulations, the City of Oshawa was the first municipality in Ontario to license residential rental units. Since then, several other Ontario municipalities have also passed residential rental licensing bylaws, including Waterloo, London and North Bay.

Residential developments containing four or more units are regulated by the City's Site Plan Control Bylaw. The Site Plan Control process examines the design and technical aspects of a proposed development to ensure conformity with city standards, including building design, site access, site servicing, stormwater management, parking, traffic, location of on-site garbage facilities and landscaping.


Project News

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