With the summer season here in a matter of weeks, “short-term vacation rentals” is the catch phrase many individuals are frantically typing into their search engines.

Due to the demands of an ever-changing marketplace, some full-service Brokerages have opted to provide the value-added assistance of making available short-term accommodation rentals on behalf of their clients.

Any person or business that wishes to facilitate short-term accommodation rentals in Ontario, must be registered as an Agent with either the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) or the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO), and possibly both if the business trades in real estate and provides other travel services.

If the Agent is registered to trade in real estate, they are sanctioned to offer and source limited types of short-term accommodation rentals on behalf of their clients such as cottages, condo apartments, homes, cabins, chalets and vacation homes.

However, to protect the renter and for a real estate registrant to remain compliant with the law, when facilitating short-term accommodation rentals, the transaction must be conducted through the registered real estate brokerage. In addition, if the Agent wants to provide any travel services beyond short-term accommodation rentals they must be registered with TICO.

This is for the protection of the consumer, because if things go wrong, the full weight of the real estate profession, all available rights of recourse, and in some cases professional liability insurances, will be made available to them.

Remember, the person offering to assist you with a short-term rental must either be providing you short-term accommodation rentals through their employing brokerage or be a TICO-registered travel agent or be an employee or contractor of the registered travel agent.

Providing any travel services beyond short-term accommodation rentals requires registration with TICO. Any time that a business acts as an agent for a supplier of travel services, the activity must be performed by a registered travel agent. This could include booking river/lake tours, facilitating the rental of water sport equipment with a third-party vendor or combining services with arranging dinner or theatre tickets.

If they are not registered, you, the consumer, take all of the risk.

Look at the advertising. Agents accommodating short term rentals must comply with the advertising requirements and all advertising must be under the brokerage’s registered name and be which must be prominently displayed. This is in place to protect the consumer.

Here are some ReaLawState tips for summer rentals:

  • Find a local registered Real Estate Agent in the area you want to rent. They will have the best selection, best access to product and best knowledge base.
  • AirBNB may seem like a quick and easy solution but remember, they have their own internal dispute resolution protocol which may not be adequate. Beyond that you always run the risk of last-minute owner cancellations.
  • Make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy covers property rental, or you may want to consider additional insurance.
  • Rent watercraft from a local marina that can provide you with proper insurances.
  • Get a short-term leasing agreement, which is enforceable.

Get what you expect when you cannot inspect. Protect yourself and make sure the Agent is properly registered and all the industry safeguards and insurances will be available to you.

Be aware and be protected.