Short Term Rentals and Fire Risk, What's the Relation?

November 19th 2021 by Sandra
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Recently an article was published about fire safety for condos with short term rental units. The article went on to state that in Ontario short term rentals of condo units are causing the Corporation to adopt a higher level of fire safety because the short-term rentals result in a hotel-like classification. If there are more than 4 units in the building that are short term rentals despite how many units are in the building, this new classification of fire safety would have to be implemented.

“ Here in Alberta rental restrictions are not allowed by the Condominium Act of Alberta.”

This is not the case currently in Alberta. The reasoning behind the classification change for the building due to short term rentals is that you may have people in the building during a fire event that are not familiar with the building lay out and could potentially cause others harm due to their uninformed action or inaction. The extra costs incurred by the Corporation to implement the fire safety plan and training would have to be passed on to the units that are renting short term which in turn may diminish the feasibility of owning a short-term rental condo.

The issue of short-term rentals in condominiums is ongoing and there are no easy answers. Each province in Canada has their own laws about this. In BC the Board of Directors of the Corporation (Council) may limit rental units in the building to a certain number of units or even to one unit but they cannot prohibit rentals. Here in Alberta rental restrictions are not allowed by the Condominium Act of Alberta. Every Corporation must allow any owner to rent their unit if they so chose and recently the rental deposit was changed from whatever amount the Corporation saw fit to only one month’s rent. This means the owner must disclose what they are charging for rent and if the Corporation requires a rental deposit, they must pay that amount to be held by the Corporation for the time the unit is being rented.

The fire safety issue is a good argument that ensures the safety of the owners but there are a number of issues that will need clarification before short term rentals or any rentals are restricted in Alberta. At the time of writing, the option for AB condo corporations is to propose a bylaw that prohibits short term rentals. A number of corporations have done this but to date the bylaw has not been tested in the Courts. It is yet to be seen if it will stand the test of justice.

Reference Article: Fire Safety for Condos and the Implications of Short-Term Rentals

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