People operating Airbnbs and other short-term rentals in Ottawa must now have permits and can only rent out their primary homes under new rules that kick in today.

Enforcement of the city’s short-term rental bylaw—aimed at cracking down on so-called ‘ghost hotels’ that operate purely for short-term visitors—starts today.

City council approved the new rules last April. However, the Ontario Short-Term Rental Association appealed the bylaw to the Ontario Land Tribunal, delaying its implementation.

The tribunal dismissed the appeal.

People who want to rent out their homes must apply for a city-issued permit, which costs $110 for two years. They also can only list on platforms registered through the city.

The rules also allow any landlord, condominium corporation or housing co-operative to prohibit short-term rentals in their properties.

The bylaw defines a short-term rental as a home that is rented out for fewer than 30 consecutive nights.

The rules came after reports of noise complaints and other issues in neighbourhoods with a higher concentration of short-term rentals. Housing advocates say clamping down on those units will also help improve the city’s housing stock.

Some cottages in rural areas are exempt from the primary residence rule, but they will be limited to a maximum of 10 guests.

You can read the city’s new short-term rental bylaw here.