Know the Rules of Renting a Cottage

June 29, 2021
cottage on lake

Know the rules of renting a cottage 

If you thought finding a place to rent in the countryside was tough this year, wait until you hear about the rules! This is not your nostalgic weekend cottage anymore, where friends and family gather for BBQs and cozy nights around the fire. In order to contain the spread of Covid-19, many provinces have regulations in place that dictate what you can and cannot do at your vacation rental, including how many people can visit you. Disregard the regulations and the fines can be steep. 

And if you are able to find a cottage to rent at this time, and you are free to travel to its location, there may be other restrictions in place that affect your stay aside from limits on indoor/outdoor gatherings. For example, group activities you enjoyed in 2019 may not be available in 2021. Local shops may not be open or have shorter hours. Boat rental places may be closed, markets may be closed, camping spots may be limited, as well as other activities you may have relied on in the past. 

So please turn to us for help before you go. Whether you are renting out your own place or signing up as a seasonal renter, we can explain the most up-to-date rules where you live (and where you’re going). 


The Basics 

Basics – there are none these days! The rules around renting vacation accommodation can change daily due to changes in Covid-19 protocols. In 2021+, in addition to having a lawyer review your rental contract, insurance needs, possible liabilities (if you have a Sea-Doo or an ATV, for example), there are now additional things to consider, whether you are the renter or the owner. 

Here is an overview of the current situation in several Canadian provinces but please get in touch with us for the most up-to-date regulations where you live. 



In BC, depending on when you are reading this, you may not be able to invite people to your cottage who are not occupants… except if you live on your own, then you may be able to have someone over for a “social gathering.” Now, if we’re talking outside fun, you can have up to 10 people over IF the space permits social distancing and hand sanitizer is available, among other conditions listed here. And if you are thinking about renting your home for a short-term stay in BC, and if it’s allowed at this time, you will first need a business license. 



Things can change rapidly in Ontario. Depending on today’s date, it is possible that short-term rentals are only permitted if you are in need of housing. If this is not the case, and you are the one renting out your place, you will need a license from Municipal Licensing and Standards for rentals of 28 days or less. If you are a renter and you booked your place before the most recent shutdown order (if there is one in place), you may be able to go, but it will depend on other shutdown rules. Definitely check us out. These are the kinds of situations where knowing you can reach out to legal counsel in your area is beneficial. 



In Quebec, chalets are very hard to find at this time. If you are able to secure one, the rules that may affect you depend on whether you are renting in a red zone or not (and where you are coming from), plus the evening curfew might still be in place and there may be restrictions as to who can visit you. The police actively seek out violators of Covid-19’s special measures and fines are handed out, especially in Estrie and the Laurentians, where there are a lot of chalets. If there are no current restrictions when you read this, pay careful attention to the kind of contract the owner of the chalet is giving you to sign. It may not be covered by the Tribunal administratif du logement (known as the Régie) and the protections it affords. 



Depending on which step you are in of Alberta’s Path Forward initiative, the province may have restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, among others. As per other provinces mentioned here, if you are able to rent and travel to your cottage or cabin at this time, there may be other rules in place that you may want to make adjustments for. As an example, if bike or kayak rental shops are out of stock, you will know to bring your own. 


Atlantic provinces 

Out East, Covid-19 restrictions are generally less strict but there may be a need to self-isolate for two weeks if you are coming from or have travelled to anywhere outside the Atlantic provinces, even if you have no symptoms. The same may be true for the whole household if one of you has come from outside the region. In Newfoundland and Labrador, if the restrictions are still in place, you might not be able to rent a cottage or cabin if you don’t already live there.   


The take-away. 

The regulations around renting a cottage differ across Canada and are rapidly changing, with some provinces tightening the rules and others relaxing them. In addition, if you find a cottage, keep in mind, you may be affected by other restrictions such as limiting the number of guests, store closures in your neighbourhood, availability of summer activities, etc. Get in touch with us. LegalShield Canada is here for you. 



Articles on the website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or opinion in any manner. Laws mentioned in the articles vary from province to province. Any links to third-party sites in our articles are for general information purposes only and LegalShield is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, the content of linked sites. It is always advisable to seek legal counsel - and LegalShield can help. 

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