Cottage rentals Ontario: COVID-19 safety

by Taylor Pipe on 08 Mar 2021

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly changed the way we do absolutely everything. From the way we see friends and family, to the way we shop and even the way we vacation. Since the threat of another stay-at-home order and another lockdown are lurking around every corner, Ontarians are trying to make the best out of their home province and explore the natural beauty and wonder of the province.

Since vacations within Ontario don't require 14 days of self-isolation, more and more individuals are looking at renting out cottages for a weekend away in their own provinces. The demand for short-term rentals has skyrocketed and lakefront real estate has been booked up for months in advance since last summer. With restaurants and fitness centres reopening and people growing weary of having to stay home, checking out cottage rentals in Ontario seems like the perfect getaway from the threat of COVID-19.

Short term rentals during COVID-19

Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, the government has shut down borders for non-essential travel and are imposing a minimum of 72 hours of quarantine upon arrival in Canada for those flying in from other countries. In addition to the travel ban, travellers also need to provide a negative COVID-19 test and according to CBC News, failure to do so could result in fines up to $3,000.

With travelling abroad becoming so risky and expensive during COVID-19, finding a short-term rental that doesn't require quarantining is looking more ideal but one of the big questions many people are asking is: are rentals in Ontario even safe during these unprecedented times?

Are vacation rentals in Ontario safe during COVID-19?

At a glance, the transmission of COVID to you is unlikely when spending time in vacation homes. There are a number of rules and regulations put in place by the Ontario Travel Industry Act that require rental accommodations to be thoroughly cleaned between each use. Owners of rental cottages in Ontario must follow strict cleaning guidelines to ensure proper hygiene during the pandemic, and they must also provide hand sanitizer or hand washing stations for every guest.

When it comes to cottage rentals in Ontario, the real threat isn't to you, but rather to the residents who live in the community you're a guest in. When cottage-goers have gatherings with family members in the area, it promotes the spread of the virus more than if a group of people from Toronto who were attending the cottage in Parry Sound kept to themselves.

The long-term news about short-term rentals

Now that COVID-19 lockdown measures are being lifted, places to rent are opening up for the summer season and guests can make reservations. Renters are only allowed to rent their home once health and safety measures are properly put into place. Any potential guests who are experiencing a cough or other COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to provide cancellation notice as soon as possible.

Guests must also notify of any cancellation immediately, or face cancellation fees. In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, group bookings are being reduced to members of the same household and bookings must also provide a list of contact information for tracing purposes. However, people who live alone may join a group. Renters must also follow vigorous cleaning protocols put forward by the province.

Support from the province

In addition to all of these enhanced safety measures, the government of Ontario is actually supporting and asking residents to explore the province instead of going to other places in Canada. They're boosting reservation rates and encouraging the people of Ontario to support small, local businesses on their cottage vacations.

Ontario is using the summer season and our cabin fever to create demand among potential cottage-goers, which is actually causing available bookings to be scarce and list at astronomical prices. Keep an eye out for an advertisement blitz encouraging people to explore Ontario. Every advertisement will feature popular landmarks that may be of interest to you and your family!

Guests enjoying time with family

Cottage rentals as investments

The cottage rental market is booming and housing requirements are causing good quality rentals to be few and far between. As an investor in Ontario, cottages are extremely appealing for their quick turnover rate and they're easily profitable properties. Short-term rentals are in demand and following the provincial shutdown, the need for cottage rentals is just going to increase further.

Many investors view cottage properties as a place to visit in their spare time, but turning your property into a rental post-shutdown makes a lot of sense since even if there's a cancellation, you still get a small percent of the money they would have paid. It's always important as a cottage renter to include any cancellation fees or cleaning fees in your rental menu so you can avoid bad reviews and be able to charge top-dollar for your vacation rentals.

Instead of isolating for 14 days, guests can enjoy the beautiful nature of Ontario's cottage country and enjoy the amenities small-town Ontario has to offer. The only issue left is how to contact a renter to make a reservation post-shutdown and find cottages that are affordable to rent for a weekend - if they're even available.

Booking Ontario short-term rentals

Contact property owners by email and let them know you're interested in renting out their cottage and what rental accommodations and cleaning protocols they have before booking a reservation. As a sidebar, get creative when searching for your ideal cottage rental as websites like AirBnB's menu often get fully booked before the winter is even over. A large percentage of individuals wait too long to send that initial contact email and it hurts their chances of getting the cottage of their dreams on their preferred date.

Many cottage rentals are requiring guests to pay cleaning fees to cover the cost of basic cleaning supplies like hand sanitizing and cleaning wipes. Since cottages are in high demand, the price for an average reservation has risen and people are profiting off renting out their own cottages for a weekend in a big way. However, there are certain regulations people who are running rental operations must follow in Ontario.

Ontario landscape

COVID-friendly cottage rentals

Whether you're looking for a treetop retreat or a cabin in the woods, Ontario is home to incredible landscapes. The beauty of cottage country is found all around northern Ontario and families should feel encouraged to ahead and look further north when looking for cottage rentals. Take into consideration small towns that may not receive the same traffic as they're the ones who need the revitalization and economic stimulation.

Either way, you'll find a picturesque spot in Ontario to call the short-term home that makes you feel connected with nature. When the stay-at-home order is finally lifted for good and we can visit friends and families safely, hopefully, we remember that we don't have to go too far to enjoy the natural beauty of Ontario and all it has to offer us in terms of peace and serenity. Sit out and enjoy the fire by your favourite Canadian lake this summer but don't forget to come back once you're allowed to explore the grand valleys and mountains of the rest of our incredible planet. Ontario will still be here waiting for you, as it always has been.

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