Town of Cochrane administration proposes changes to short term rental regulations

“This will help ensure that short term rentals are being regulated appropriately in Town,” Hofer said. “There appears to be a growing popularity of this type of short term rental in Town.”

COCHRANE— The Town of Cochrane administration is looking to revamp the regulations on short term rentals as part of the proposed re-write of Cochrane’s current Land Use Bylaw.

Short Term Rentals have seen a rise in popularity and the town has been receiving many inquiries, said Town of Cochrane Senior Planner Jill Hofer and manager of the Land Use Bylaw review project. She added that there are currently many properties being rented out using short term rental online sites.

Due to this development, the Town is now looking to introduce some regulations on the short term rental market in Cochrane.

“This will help ensure that short term rentals are being regulated appropriately in Town,” Hofer said. “There appears to be a growing popularity of this type of short term rental in Town.”

The proposed new regulations will apply to residential properties that are being used for short term rentals, including those on online platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.

Under the current regulations if a host lives in the rental and rents out rooms they are required to have a Development Permit for a bed and breakfast and a business license. If a host does not live in the home and rents the entire house as a short term rental they require no permits.

The proposed regulations would require hosts that do not live in the short term rental to have a business license to operate. They would also be required to have a mandatory fire inspection, egress windows in a rented room, a maximum of two adults per rented room, no overlapping booking, a business license number on all rental adds and emergency contact information posted inside the rental.

The rules for in-home short term renters would remain the same.

The Town is currently working on a comprehensive rewrite of the Land Use Bylaw and the short term rental review is part of this project, Hofer said.

“By creating these regulations and ensuring we’re ahead of the 8-ball then were prepared if we do see a surge in tourism to Cochrane,” Hofer said.

The current Land Use Bylaw was adopted in 2004. A comprehensive re-write has been initiated by Town Administration to ensure that the document remains current and reflective of Cochrane’s growth and changing needs as a municipality.

The Town began engaging with the public last summer to understand the needs of the community, Hofner said.

They have now shifted online to engage in feedback due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hofner said the information about the proposed changes to Land Use Bylaw are available online.

She added that it has been an interesting experience finding new ways to engage with the public.

The silver lining to moving online in place of in-person meetings, Hofer said, is that interaction with the public appears to have increased.

“Our videos we’re getting a lot more views,” Hofer said.

She added that a number of municipalities are looking at adopting new regulations around short term rentals including Calgary and Canmore.

“We’re just trying to ensure our regulations ensure that these short term rentals are being properly regulated and that there safe,” Hofer said. “We want to put it out to the public and receive feedback to see if we’re on the right track with our proposed regulations.”

Based on public feedback about the recommended changes to the Land Use Bylaw, including short term rental regulations, changes can be made to the proposal before it is submitted to Cochrane Council.

To participate in the Land Use Bylaw visit letstalkcochrane.ca/LUB. For more information contact lub@cochrane.ca.

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