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County STA licensing program updates now in effect

An updated licensing program for short-term accommodations (STA) is now in effect for Prince Edward County.

County council approved the changes late September which have resulted in two categories of STAs: primary residence STAs and secondary residence STAs.

A primary residence STA (formerly known as “owner-occupied”) means a short-term accommodation in which one or two dwelling-units on the property are occupied by accommodated guests and is the owner’s primary residence on their income tax filing and in other government records. This is further defined as:
· Host on-site for full calendar year
· Host off-site for (up to 45) total days per calendar year

A secondary residence STA (formerly known as “whole-home”) means an STA in which one or two dwelling-units on the property are entirely occupied by accommodated guests, and is not the owner’s primary residence.

The municipality will no longer issue new secondary residence STA licences for applications submitted after Sept. 20, 2022. Applications for secondary residence STAs already in the system will be processed. New licence applications already in the system will be processed according to the licensing bylaw that existed at the time of submission.

All secondary residence STAs that are currently licensed can continue to operate and renew their licence. Licensed secondary resident STA properties can be sold and licensed by the new owner as the property has legal non-conforming (“grandfathered”) status, provided there has been no change in the use of the property. Grandfathered secondary residence STAs still have to comply with all life safety and insurance provisions.

As part of the licensing program changes, the municipality approved a revised set of monetary penalties to better encourage compliance with all municipal by-laws and regulations.

Penalties are as follows:
– Operating without a licence: $10,000 first offence; $15,000 second offence; $20,000 offence thereafter

– Advertising STA without a licence: $2,000 first offence; $4,000 second offence; $8,000 offence thereafter

– Fail to provide copies of required documents: $100 first offence; $200 second offence; $400 offence thereafter

– Fail to display STA licence number on STA advertisement: $1,000 first offence; $2,000 second offence; $4,000 offence thereafter

– Hosting non-permitted events: $500 first offence; $1,000 second offence; $2,000 offence thereafter

– Change or operate STA other than as approved: $1,000 first offence; $2,000 second offence; $4,000 offence thereafter

– Refusing a by-law enforcement officer entry for inspection: $300 first offence; $500 second offence; $1,000 offence thereafter

Licence applications and renewals now include a self-attestation to better help the municipality ensure STA operators are complying with Ontario Fire Code regulations.

The County has posted information about each category of STA as well as answers to frequently asked questions on the County website. Inquiries can also be sent by email to or by calling 613.476.2148 extension 2050 or 613.962.9108 extension 2050.

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  1. B Wilder says:

    When STA’s began here there was no zoning in place that would prevent them. For example there was no bylaw to prevent a homeowner from renting out their home. The bylaws to control STA’s came into effect after the units were already established. That’s why you had grandfathered STA units. So an owner would have a pretty good argument that the use of their property as an STA that was in existence prior to the bylaw is legally non conforming.
    It seems that our municipality and many others do not consider STA’s or even whole home STA’s as commercial operations or equivalent to hotels or motels. If they did, the existing zoning would have been sufficient to shut them down.

  2. Paul D Cole says:

    I do believe in order for a property to be Legal Non Conforming it would have had to have been zoned properly in the first place. Building or starting a business in a residentially zoned area is not legal under zoning laws…

  3. Susan says:

    You are right. A lot of County residents including Seniors have profited greatly from the sale of their homes. Been a dream come true to many. Now can live comfortably in their last years. There hard work has payed off, deservingly so.

  4. B Wilder says:

    You cannot enact a bylaw to outlaw existing STA units. The use would remain legally non conforming. It also may not be able to end that legally non conforming use upon the sale of the property.
    As to renting out those units at an ‘affordable’ monthly rent that will not happen. Beside the fact that the owner has no personal incentive to give up an income stream, it is likely that most if not all of these properties are mortgaged. It is highly unlikely that an affordable monthly rent would cover the mortgage costs, taxes and upkeep.
    And then there’s those folks” that cashed in on those windfall, tax free profits when they sold their homes to those STA operators.

  5. Fred says:

    @ David Thomas. The demand for nice well kept homes in PEC will continue as a desired location. Eliminating secondary STAs will have no impact on affordable housing. There would be very few that own a valuable property that would entertain low income rentals.

  6. Teena says:

    How about just turning them into long-term rentals (one year leases) at prices that reflect the salaries in the area?

  7. David Thomas says:

    @Fred, that’s not how it works. If all secondary STAs were eliminated, the market would be flooded with houses, decreasing prices. Supply and demand.

    Unfortunately, even at those reduced prices, many people still wouldn’t be able to afford them because of increasing mortgage rates. There are no easy solutions.

  8. Fred says:

    There is not a housing shortage here, there is an affordable housing shortage here as is every other area. The misconception is that STAs are the cause. If all secondary STAs were eliminated they would then sell at a maximum,certainly not relieving any affordable housing need.

  9. Mike Rodgers says:

    The council missed the boat again, secondary residence STAs should not be able continue if present owner sells property. We need to eliminate all secondary residence STAs. In this way we might see some relief from a housing shortage.

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