Responsible Hosts of Tiny (RHT) has filed an application with the Superior Court of Ontario to challenge Tiny’s short-term rental (STR) licensing bylaw.

This application was submitted after numerous attempts to engage the Township in dialogue, trying to refine the bylaw to be more fair and balanced for everyone.  

The township refused to make any material changes, and, inexplicably, publicly denigrated RHT members when they requested a pause in the enforcement of the bylaw

The court application is a public document, hence, RHT is discussing it in an open forum.

The grounds of the case are that the new licensing bylaw attempts to restrict, punish, and make it unreasonably difficult for short-term rentals to operate in Tiny. 

Legally, a licensing regime can only seek to regulate, not restrict, and hence it’s illegal in its current form.

“Regarding licencing, it is important to note that the licensing process is meant to regulate business – not prohibit it. A licence may not be withheld as punishment for not receiving a licence in the past or to punish for any other reason. Simply put, if an applicant meets all of the requirements to get a licence, a licence must be issued.”

Based on legal advice,
this remains the position of Responsible Hosts of Tiny

Some terms of the bylaw, such as the 300 license limit, are not legally permitted (click to view Town of Huntsville bylaw Review in a new tab). This PDF from the Town of Huntsville’s legal opinion also questions the act of limiting the total number of STR licenses available. 

Therefore, either in its entirety or in parts,

the bylaw will likely be struck down by the courts. 

Unlike most municipalities that have faced similar challenges, Tiny Township has chosen not to enter into settlement negotiations, instead opting to await a court ruling on the matter.

This fee is to cover the additional legal costs to argue their case with timelines are likely to extend into 2024 and beyond.

Here's where things get interesting

By not pausing enforcement of the bylaw during the court challenge and not engaging in good faith dialogue, the Township has now taken on a revenue loss liability of the short-term rental hosts.

In the event the bylaw (and even parts of the bylaw) are deemed to be illegal (as RHT predicts), the Township may be liable for compensating short-term rental owners for the lost revenue and earnings.

What does this mean?

👉🏼 If the bylaw is illegal, then Tiny bears responsibility for preventing short-term rental hosts from operating for the duration of the licensing regime being in place.

This financial exposure is in the millions (~600 STRs in Tiny, experiencing a $20,000 drop in revenue would put the Township into the $12 million / year exposure).

Responsible Hosts of Tiny will be directing their legal counsel (McCarthy Tetrault) to seek these damages as part of their application.

👉🏼 To those who say it’s not likely, the answer is nobody knows, as this is uncharted territory in the Canadian legal domain. 

👉🏼 The probability is definitely not zero (Tiny Township’s legal counsel will undoubtedly confirm this), and all of it will have to be borne by Tiny taxpayers. 

Every month, this liability grows by $1 million,
placing the township on a potential path to insolvency.

We want to work with the township to find a mutually agreeable path forward.

We welcome sensible regulation that removes ghost hotels and party rentals – but still allows cottage rentals that are respectful of the community and its tradition.

We are challenging this by-law.

This fight is for all of Ontario

We are raising funds to help us cover the cost of this challenge. While this fight is specific to Tiny, it will set a precedent for all of Ontario. Other townships are taking notes and are likely considering using Tiny’s bylaw as a template.

We are part of a special Ontario community that makes it possible for everyone to enjoy the wonders of our great province. We want to continue this tradition of sharing our homes and cottages with others, whether it is for relaxation, recreation, work, or study.

If you have a cottage you rent, or if you are a renter looking to visit different parts of Ontario we are asking for your support.

Every donation helps!

All contributions will be spent solely on legal fees incurred as part of our challenge.
Any unspent funds from the GoFundMe campaign will be donated to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Not able to help us monetarily, please share information about this cause? Your support means a lot.