Prince Edward County Municipal Services

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Frequently Asked Questions

The County has prepared answers to frequently asked questions about short-term accommodations and the licensing program. The FAQs are grouped by subject area. Learn more below.

If you do not see the answer to your question or you require further information, please call 613.476.2148 extension 2050, 613.962.9108 extension 2050, or email sta@pecounty.on.ca.  

General

A short-term accommodation (STA) means a dwelling or dwelling unit, or any portion of it, that is rented for a period of less than 30 days. It includes a secondary residence STA, all or part of a primary residence STA,  and a bed and breakfast establishment that rents not more than four bedrooms or suites.

The STA classification does not include a motel, hotel, hostel, tourist inn, or accommodations where there is no payment exchanged.

Short-term accommodations are permitted on properties that have a residential portion to the zoning applied to the property and if they meet the application criteria as set out by the municipal by-law.

Short-term accommodation use is permitted in the following zones:

  • In the Urban Residential zones (R1, and R2), Hamlet Residential (HR) zone, or Limited Service Residential (LSR) zone, in accordance with the provisions of the STA zoning by-law amendment and the requirements of the specific zone.
  • In the Core Commercial, General Commercial (CG), Highway Commercial (CH), and Tourist Commercial zones within an existing or permitted dwelling unit.
  • On lots existing as of October 9, 2018 and zoned the Rural Residential zones or within an existing bed and breakfast establishment or an existing residence used whole or in part as a principal residence.
  • In the Rural 1 (RU1), Rural 2 (RU2) or Rural 3 (RU3) zones, accessory and ancillary to a bona fide operating farm as an exception in support of on-farm diversified uses. This zoning requires the property owner/operator to have a registered farm number.

Property owners may apply for an STA licence as the legal land owners. During the application process the legal property owner may designate another person to act on their behalf; however, the ultimate responsibility rests on the legal property owner to ensure compliance.

Licencing fees depend on the type of licence you hold and whether or not you are on a required inspection year. By-law 203-2021 (as amended by 75-2022) Schedule Y details the fees.

Payment can be made:

  • Through the County website. In the “Community Group” field, please put your customer ID. In the “Event” field, please put your ST number (as shown on the invoice)
  • Through online banking as a bill payment:
    Payee: Prince Edward (search and select rental)
    Account: Customer ID (as shown on the invoice)
  • In person:
    280 Picton Main Street, Suite 103. Please bring copy of invoice

Yes. Property owners need to renew their licences every year to ensure all information on file is current and that the property is still in compliance with all legislation.

In order to obtain a licence, By-law Enforcement Officers will inspect the property to ensure compliance with all municipal by-laws and provincial legislation.

You can check the municipal STA map to see if a property has an active STA licence.

The property owner is ultimately responsible to ensure all refuse is taken away in the appropriate manner. A garbage receptacle must be available on all properties.

Once payment has been remitted and applied to the property owner’s account, the STA office will reach out by email with a date for inspection. It is important to confirm the appointment time or to advise the STA office if there is a conflict as soon as possible.

The printed copy of your licence must be displayed in a prominent location at your STA at all times and available to inspectors on a site visit.

A complete application is required in order to process your application in a timely manner. All documents requested are required in determining if a licence can be issued. If an application is not complete, you will be advised to resubmit all information when it is available. No partial applications will be kept.

From the time a complete application is submitted to issuance of a licence is approximately 30 days. There are a number of factors that could reduce or extend the number of days such as extra requirements from the Building or Planning department, number of days until fee payment is remitted, etc.

If a licence is not renewed by the due date, the licence will become inactive and any operation can result in administrative penalties being issued. To continue with operation, a new application will have to be submitted for the property.

The legal non-conforming or “grandfathered” status stays with the property even if it is sold, provided there has been no change in the use of the property and the licence of the previous owner has not expired. A new owner would still be required to obtain their own licence to continue operating an STA on the property, immediately once the completion date on the purchase agreement has passed.

Planning

Zoning refers to municipal by-laws and regulations that govern how property can and cannot be used in certain geographic areas.

You can look up the zoning of your property on the County website. Click here.

You can apply to have your property rezoned under the Ontario Planning Act. Visit the County website to learn how you can get more information or submit a rezoning application.

Building

A dwelling unit means one or more habitable rooms, occupied or capable of being occupied as a single housekeeping unit only, in which sleeping, sanitary conveniences, and kitchen facilities are provided, in which a heating system is provided, and in which there is a private entrance from outside the building or from a common hallway or stairway inside.

For the purposes of the municipal STA licensing by-law, a dwelling unit does not include a tent, trailer, mobile home, or a room or suite of rooms in a boarding or rooming house, a hotel, motel, or motor home.

A legal dwelling unit means that the dwelling was constructed and/or modified to comply with the Ontario Building Code at the time of construction.

The Building Department must review STA applications. A site inspection may be required to ensure the property is complying with the regulations set out in the Ontario Building Code.

A secondary suite is permitted as a primary residence STA. If the suite is part of the dwelling unit, compliance with the Ontario Building Code and Ontario Fire Code is required, which may require you to get a building permit to bring the building into compliance.

A secondary suite in a detached structure must be constructed or renovated with a valid building permit as a dwelling use and comply with the County zoning by-law. It must also be constructed for year-round use.

The Ontario Building Code states that an interconnected fire alarm system is required when the dwelling has sleeping accommodation for more than 10 people. Occupant load is based on two people per sleeping area in a dwelling unit or suite.

Septic systems are required under the Ontario Building Code to be sized for the intended use. A septic system is designed based on the following: size of the dwelling, number of bedrooms and the number of fixture units in the dwelling. 

Yes, a change of use permit is required to convert a garage into a dwelling unit. This ensures that the Ontario Building Code requirements are met.

The Ontario Building Code defines a hotel as having four or more suites and is no longer be classified as a dwelling unit.

Every STA must be a legal dwelling unit that has cooking, eating, living/sleeping and sanitary/washroom facilities.

Fire and Rescue

STAs may require a fire safety inspection when the size of  the rental property exceeds certain parameters listed in the Ontario Fire Code. More than four bedrooms and more than 10 people sleeping in a dwelling unit are examples where an inspection is required.

The Fire Department may also conduct complaint inspections, inspections during emergency response and random inspections to assess compliance with the “self attestation” document required as part of the licensing process.

Fire Safety Plans are intended to assist the owners of all buildings with the basic essentials for the safety of the occupants. The Plans are intended to ensure an orderly evacuation at the time of an emergency and to provide a minimum degree of flexibility to achieve the necessary fire safety for the building.

Click here to download a Fire Safety Plan template.

The self attestation form is designed to provide the Fire Department with basic information regarding property rentals.

Each submitted form will be reviewed by an inspector to determine the risk level associated to occupancy use.  The risk level will prioritize fire safety inspections and ensure higher risk properties are assessed for Ontario Fire Code compliance.

All open-air burning in Prince Edward County requires a burn permit.  STA owners must get a permit for each rental property, and they are subject to all terms and conditions noted in By-law 77-2021. Visit the County’s burn permit website to learn more. 

When properties are used differently than originally designed and built, there are often different Building and Fire Code requirements to ensure fire and life safety.

Changes to buildings require a building permit, which establishes minimum codes for the new use of the occupancy. Building permits usually require an architect or engineer to provide designs and drawings that achieve Building Code compliance.

Owners may seek a compliance audit from an architect or fire protection engineer when determining compliance with the applicable codes if they believe that the use of the property differs from the original design and use. This includes changing the use to rental spaces, adding bedrooms or conducting construction without a permit.

Architects and engineers may apply alternative solutions to achieve code compliance to the local authority have jurisdiction. Alternative solutions may be approved by the Chief Building Official and / or the Chief Fire Official.

Property owners may also request a compliance inspection from the  County’s Fire Department. The Fire Department can assess the property based on the current occupancy use and apply the applicable Fire Code requirements.

Non-compliance may result in enforcement, which includes an Inspection Order against the property. An Inspection Order provides time for compliance and establishes which specific code issues require attention by the owner. A compliance inspection will occur to determine if the work was completed in the specified timeline. Orders are removed from the property when compliance is achieved. There are often no additional enforcement actions when owners comply with Inspection Orders.

Property owners may obtain an STA licence when they are located on private laneways that do not meet minimum road requirements. Property owners will receive a letter from the Fire Department confirming that they will receive “limited services” as defined in By-Law 3256-2013.

The Fire Department will continue to respond and deliver fire protection services to the best of its ability, with the staffing and resources available at the time of the emergency. Property owners will be notified of any conditions that contribute to the delay of services, limitations to service delivery and property access.  Owners will then carry any liability associated to the limited services available to them during emergency response, especially when renting their property as a business.

Enforcement

You can report an unlicensed STA by:

  • Emailing sta@pecounty.on.ca
  • Calling 613.476.2148 extension 2050 Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
  • Calling 613.476.2148 extension 2045 after hours or on weekends

For guests who are not abiding by the municipal noise by-law:

If you have received a letter of compliance, it means that you are not operating within the municipal STA by-law and enforcement officers have given you time to adjust the non-compliant behaviour before issuing an administrative fine. Please reach out to the department noted on the letter to discuss what is required.

If you have received a fine or administrative penalty for non-compliance your options are located on the back of the ticket. 

If you wish to challenge the ticket (plead not guilty), you would complete the required information on the back of the ticket and submit to the municipal office before the 15 days since issue has expired.

Once your challenge is received, an appointment will be set with the screening officer to discuss the offence.  If a resolution cannot be made with the screening officer, you will be scheduled to discuss the issue with the hearing officer.  All hearing officer decisions are final.

Payment of fine/administrative penalty can be made through the County website.

Payments can be received in person at 280 Picton Main Street, Suite 103 (with copy of ticket).

You can mail a cheque or money order to 332 Picton Main Street, Picton, ON K0K 2T0.

After 60 days from violation date, unpaid fines may be placed on the tax roll for collection in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001 along with a transfer fee as set in the fees and charges by-law. Additions to the tax roll are treated like taxes and will be subject to monthly penalty/interest charges of 1.25 per cent as per the Municipal Act, 2001.

No. Section 436 of the Municipal Act permits a municipality to pass by-laws providing that the municipality may enter on land at any reasonable time for the purpose of carrying out an inspection to determine compliance with a by-law direction, order or licence.