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Mississauga Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Mississauga, Canada

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Mississauga

The City of Mississauga, located in the Greater Toronto Area, passed a Short-Term Accommodation (STA) By-law that went into effect on January 19, 2021. According to this by-law, anyone operating a short-term rental in Mississauga needs to obtain a business license. Short-term rentals are defined as renting out all or part of a home for 30 consecutive days or less.

The STA By-law aims to ensure public safety, maintain community standards, and achieve licensing compliance objectives. It gives the city more power to regulate the short-term rental industry which has grown significantly in recent years through platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. There are an estimated 1,500 short-term rental operators in Mississauga.

Prior to the STA By-law, short-term rentals operated in a gray area with little oversight. Residents complained about noise, parties, parking issues, and the impact on housing affordability and availability. In 2019, Mississauga City Council directed staff to study the issue and develop recommendations. After extensive public consultations, the STA By-law was passed in 2020.

The by-law is part of a broader effort by the City of Mississauga to regulate the sharing economy. In 2018, the city introduced licensing requirements for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. The STA By-law takes a similar approach to short-term rentals, focusing on operator licensing and responsible hosting standards.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Mississauga

To legally operate a short-term rental in Mississauga, hosts must apply for a business license either online or in person at the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC) at city hall. The annual licensing fee is $250. Hosts are required to include their city-issued license number on all online listings and advertisements.

Hosts can apply for a license starting January 19, 2021 and have a six-month grace period to gain compliance. After the grace period (July 19, 2021), any short-term rental operating without a license may face penalties. The license must be renewed annually for a fee of $250.

The licensing process involves a review of the application and supporting documents to ensure compliance with the STA By-law. City staff may conduct an inspection of the property to confirm it meets all requirements. Once approved, the host receives a license number to post in their listings. Licenses are non-transferable.

There are some exemptions to the licensing requirement. Rentals of an entire principal residence for 28 days or more do not require a license. Rental of a legal second unit (like a basement apartment) also does not require a license if the rental agreement is 28 days or more. Hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts are exempt as they are regulated under different by-laws.

Required Documents for Mississauga Short Term Rentals

To apply for a short-term rental license in Mississauga, hosts need to provide the following:

  • Proof of being at least 18 years old (birth certificate, driver's license, passport)
  • A criminal record check from Peel Regional Police issued in the last 60 days
  • Proof of $2 million liability insurance coverage
  • Evidence the rental is the host's principal residence (recent utility bill or tax form)
  • Contact information for the person responsible for the rental
  • Permission from the property owner if the host is a tenant
  • Permission from the condo board if the property is a condo unit
  • A fire safety plan with evacuation procedures
  • A site plan showing on-site parking and a floor plan of the rental area
  • The $250 annual licensing fee

The criminal record check requirement is to ensure community safety. The insurance requirement protects both hosts and guests in case of accidents or damages. Proof of principal residence aims to prevent investment properties from being used as "ghost hotels" that are not owner-occupied.

Hosts must also provide guests with information packages that include the license number, fire safety/evacuation plan, parking instructions, and details on city by-laws related to noise, waste, and property standards. The STA By-law requires hosts to keep a record of all rental transactions and guest names/contact info for 3 years.

Mississauga Short Term Rental Taxes

Guests who book Airbnb listings in Mississauga pay a 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) on the listing price and cleaning fees for stays 30 nights or less. The MAT is collected by the short-term rental platform (like Airbnb) and remitted to the city. Other platforms like Vrbo are also required to collect and remit the MAT.

Hosts earning over $30,000 per year from short-term rentals must register for, collect and remit GST/HST. Those earning under $30,000 are not required to register for GST/HST but may do so voluntarily. Hosts can register online through the Canada Revenue Agency.

The MAT and GST/HST are in addition to income tax that hosts must pay on their rental income. Hosts can deduct eligible expenses like the licensing fee, insurance, utilities, and cleaning costs. Detailed record keeping is important for tax purposes. Hosts should consult an accountant to ensure they are meeting all their tax obligations.

The 4% MAT is expected to generate about $1 million annually for the City of Mississauga. The funds will be used to offset costs associated with the STA By-law, such as licensing administration and enforcement. Any remaining funds will go towards tourism-related projects and affordable housing initiatives.

Mississauga-wide Short Term Rental Rules

The Mississauga STA By-law has the following key requirements for short-term rentals:

  • Rentals are only permitted in the host's principal residence where they live most of the year
  • Hosts can rent up to 3 bedrooms in their principal residence
  • Rentals are not allowed in investment or income properties the host does not live in
  • Hosts must comply with all fire code, building code, and property standards
  • Hosts must provide guests with emergency contact info and fire safety/evacuation plan
  • Hosts must keep a record of guest names and details for 3 years
  • Hosts must ensure no noise or nuisance is caused by guests
  • Hosts must post their license number in all listings and advertisements
  • Hosts must pay the 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax (collected by platforms like Airbnb)
  • Hosts must have a minimum of 2 off-street parking spaces for guests

These rules aim to balance the benefits of home sharing with the need to protect neighborhoods and housing stock. They ensure STRs are operated responsibly by an on-site host in their principal residence only. The 3 bedroom cap prevents large "party houses". The parking requirement reduces on-street parking pressures.

Some additional rules apply in certain areas of Mississauga. In the Port Credit and Streetsville neighborhoods, short-term rentals are not permitted in any dwelling type (even principal residences). These are established neighborhoods with a high number of heritage homes and unique character. The city wants to preserve their residential nature.

Condos and apartments can also have their own restrictions on short-term rentals, even if the building is a host's principal residence. Condo boards can prohibit or restrict short-term rentals through their declarations, by-laws, or rules. Tenants need written permission from their landlord to operate a short-term rental.

Does Mississauga strictly enforce STR rules?

Based on discussions among hosts on forums like Bigger Pockets and Reddit, Mississauga appears to be fairly strict in enforcing its short-term rental regulations compared to some other cities. The city has a dedicated enforcement team that follows up on complaints and conducts proactive audits. Fines for non-compliance can be up to $100,000 per infraction.

While some hosts still operate STRs in Mississauga without a license, many have chosen to exit the market or only rent to longer-term tenants to avoid the licensing requirements. The consensus is that Mississauga is not as "Airbnb friendly" as it used to be before the STA By-law came into effect. The number of listings has dropped significantly.

The city's enforcement efforts seem to be having an impact. In the first year of the STA By-law (2021), Mississauga issued 198 notices of contravention and 101 fines related to short-term rentals. The city also denied 20 license applications for not meeting requirements.

However, some hosts feel the city is being overly restrictive and hurting responsible operators who rely on short-term rental income. They argue the principal residence requirement is too limiting. There have been calls for the city to consider allowing some investment properties to be licensed, with a cap on the number of nights rented per year.

The city has said it will review the STA By-law after 2 years of implementation to evaluate its effectiveness and identify any needed amendments. Consultations with stakeholders, including hosts and residents, will be part of this review process.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Mississauga

Here are the key steps to legally start a short-term rental in Mississauga:

Confirm your property is eligible and meets all requirements of the STA By-law. It must be your principal residence where you live at least 8 months per year. You can rent up to 3 bedrooms. If you live in a condo, check the condo rules. If you are a tenant, get written permission from your landlord.

Get adequate insurance coverage for short-term renting. You need a minimum of $2 million liability insurance. Let your insurance provider know you will be hosting short stays. Consider additional coverage like contents insurance or income replacement insurance.

Prepare supporting documents for your license application. You will need government ID, a criminal record check, proof of principal residence, a fire safety plan, a site/floor plan, and permission from a landlord or condo board if applicable.

Apply for a short-term rental business license from the City of Mississauga. You can apply online through the city's e-services portal or in person at the MBEC at city hall. The annual licensing fee is $250.

Wait for your license to be approved before listing or renting your property. The city will review your application and supporting documents. They may contact you for more information or conduct an inspection. Processing times vary but typically take 2-3 weeks.

Once approved, include your 7-digit license number in all online listings and ads. This is required by the STA By-law. Also post your license inside your rental unit in a visible spot like the back of the entrance door.

Prepare information packages for guests with key details like parking instructions, fire safety/evacuation plan, emergency contact info, and waste disposal guidelines. Have copies available in the rental unit.

When you start hosting, collect the 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) from guests. If you use a platform like Airbnb, they will automatically collect and remit the MAT. If you take direct bookings, you need to collect the MAT and remit it to the city monthly.

If you earn over $30,000 per year from your short-term rental, register for GST/HST. You will need to start collecting and remitting GST/HST to the Canada Revenue Agency. Consult an accountant for tax advice.

Keep accurate records of all short-term rental transactions and guest information. You are required to maintain these records for at least 3 years and provide them to the city if requested for an audit or investigation.

Comply with all provisions of the STA By-law, including noise and nuisance standards. Respond promptly to any complaints or concerns raised by guests, neighbors, or city staff. Failure to operate responsibly could result in fines or license revocation.

Renew your short-term rental business license annually. The city will send a renewal notice 60 days before your license expires. The renewal fee is $250. You must continue to meet all eligibility requirements and provide updated supporting documents.

Who to contact in Mississauga about Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

For questions about the Short-Term Accommodation By-law and licensing requirements, contact the City of Mississauga at:

For zoning inquiries, contact the Planning and Building Department:

To report an unlicensed short-term rental or other STA By-law infraction, contact 311 or fill out an online complaint form: https://www.mississauga.ca/services-and-programs/business/licences-and-

What do Airbnb hosts in Mississauga on Reddit and Bigger Pockets think about local regulations?

Here are some comments from Mississauga Airbnb hosts on Reddit and Bigger Pockets:"The City of Mississauga is making it very difficult to be a host. The number of listings has dropped significantly since the new STA By-law came into effect. I understand the need for some regulation, but I think they went overboard with the principal residence requirement. It's hurting good hosts who operate responsibly and provide a needed service." (Reddit user Mississauga_Host)"I've decided to convert my Airbnb to a long-term rental to avoid dealing with the licensing hassles and taxes. It's just not worth it anymore in Mississauga unfortunately. I was only renting occasionally but the city doesn't seem to care - they want every host to get a license even if you're just doing it a few weeks a year." (Bigger Pockets user JohnD3434)"

Enforcement is definitely ramping up. I know several hosts who have been fined for operating without a license. Make sure you dot all your i's and cross all your t's if you want to do short-term rentals here. It's not the wild west anymore. Personally I'm playing it safe and only doing 31+ day rentals now." (Reddit user SaugaSTR)"

I went through the licensing process and it was quite involved. You have to submit a lot of documentation and they even inspected my place. But I'm glad I did it because now I'm operating above board without worrying about fines. Just be aware it's not a quick and easy process." (Reddit user LicensedHost)"

The City of Mississauga seems to have found a balance with the new STA By-law. It weeds out the bad apples running party houses and ghost hotels, while still allowing responsible home sharing. But I agree the principal residence rule is overly strict. They should consider allowing a limited number of licensed investment properties with a cap on rental nights per year." (Bigger Pockets user STR_Investor)

In summary, while it is still possible to operate a short-term rental business in Mississauga, hosts need to carefully review the Short-Term Accommodation By-law requirements and obtain a license. The city has made a clear effort to regulate the industry in recent years. Many hosts feel Mississauga is less welcoming to short-term rentals compared to the past.

However, hosts who go through the licensing process can operate legally and avoid penalties. Some feel the principal residence requirement is too restrictive and are advocating for amendments to allow for some licensed investment properties.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.