Four months ago saw the adoption of a process wherein anyone in Kingston looking to operate a short-term rental (STR) would have to register with the city building department. Since then, renting or advertising a STR unit in a property for rent on a short-term basis without a license has been forbidden.
Three different types of STRs are allowed at two different annual price points in the City of Kingston. The full-time short-term rental, costing $650 a year, allows the year-round pursuit of the transient tourist class.
The number of full-time STR permits is capped at 106 licenses, one percent of Kingston’s total estimated 10,600 rental housing units.
An annual registration fee of $125 is required for the other two types of STRs allowed. One type, the limited STR, allows a unit in a building to be rented out for less than 30 days a year. The other, the resident-occupied STR, places no limit to how often a room can be rented out over the course of a year as long as the building is owner-occupied. No permitting caps limit the number of residents citywide who can use STRs in these two ways.
Full-time STR permits are only allowed in T5 or T4 zoning transects, meaning they are permitted to operate only in the densest and most commercially flexible transects. The choice to restrict full-time, year-round, STRs to the T5 and T4 neighborhoods appears to have been aimed at striking a balance between protecting existing communities while rewarding local businesses.
Kingston director of housing initiatives Bartek Starodaj believes that the city is approaching an equilibrium, what he calls “an appropriate balance between short-term rental activity and potential negative impacts, especially on housing availability and affordability.”
Enforcement will play a part, with significant fines for those who scoff at the laws, in helping maintain that equilibrium. Renting or advertising STRs without registering with the city will see violators paying $1000 a day in the first instance and $5000 a day for the second instance. For the third and all subsequent instances, violators will have earned themselves $7500 a day in fines.
“Most short-term rental operators have now complied with our new zoning code either by registering or ceasing operations,” believes Starodaj. “We will continue to take action against anyone flouting the city’s rules.”
Kingston is currently taking legal action against approximately 20 unregistered short-term-rental operators.
Four months in, permits for only 19 full-time STRs remain available.
Eighty-seven units have been registered for full-time short-term renting. Ten resident-occupied STRs and eight limited STR units have also registered.
“I am pleased that we have been able to successfully administer the new short-term rental rules that were adopted as part of the new zoning code,” said mayor Steve Noble. “Since implementing the new online registration portal, the vast majority of STR owners have registered or ceased operations to comply with the new rules.”
To register a short-term rental with the City of Kingston go to: cityofkingston.munirevs.com
To report illegal rentals, trash, noise complaints or anything else resulting from the rental of an STR in your neighborhood, go to str.govos.com/complaint/?cityid=1684.