Got space in the barn?
Could be a hot short-term rental opportunity
OTTAWA — City folk want to get away from the concrete and see trees, animals and water. They want it bad and they want a unique experience. Coupled together, you can rent out a barn loft, an old cabin or even a tent. You clean it up and they will come.
Short-term holiday rental websites say that rural holidays, away from crowds and hotels, have jumped in popularity. Website operator VRBO (Vacation Rental Business Opportunity) said that it reported a 30 per cent rise in rural getaways globally.
A barn loft that sleeps two in Essex County rents for $197 a night. A cabin that looks about the size of a shed, with running water, at the edge of a pond and close to farm animals, fetches $97 a night, just east of urban Ottawa. A large dome-like tent near Oxford Mills, southwest of Kemptville, rents for $146 per night. There’s running water and shower in an outhouse next door.
Throw in a unique experience – a view, swimming pool, fishing from your front door, horseback riding, or a treehouse and demand rises, the rental website operators say. It can be rustic but has to be clean.
Price can be eye-brow raising high. This year VRBO listed a Prince Edward County farmhouse as one of its top 10 vacation homes in Canada. The seven-bedroom farmhouse sleeps 14 and earned praise for its ample living space, with reading nooks and open concept kitchen and dining room for large groups. The property is listed as renting for $1,450 per night.
The number of short term rentals have been increasing across Canada for the past six years, as Canadians find new ways to earn money. A McGill University study for Prince Edward County found that there were 400 active short term rental listings in the county in 2021. There are now 900 licenced rentals venues.
But it’s not easy money. In Prince Edward County, there’s a 4 per cent accommodation tax. Other jurisdictions charge owners an annual fee. The rental website can charge anywhere from 3 to 15 per cent on each booked rental. And sometimes neighbours complain as renters often wander or explore.