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HomeNewsNeighbours want Airbnb in their neighbourhood grounded

Neighbours want Airbnb in their neighbourhood grounded

KAWARTHA LAKES- The Rolling Hills Estates were meant to be a quiet, retirement community according to the Homeowners Association.

They say the peace and tranquility of the neighbourhood is being ruined by an Airbnb rental at the end of the street, forcing at least one homeowner to move. “People were going over on their docks, in their pool and the pool is right by the house, dogs loose on their property.” Sharon Mckay told Kawartha 411. “People are so rude.”

Her husband Don, the Secretary for the Homeowners Association,  says not all the Airbnb rentals are that way but at least half of them are. “The other 50% come up here to have a good time and to party, they have total disregard for the neighbours or the neighbourhood, we have animals running at large, foul language, parties in the wee hours of the morning and cars driving excessive speeds up and down the road.”

Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows people to lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation home rentals and apartment rentals.

Rolling Hills is located on Pigeon Lake, just off of County Road 17 near Bobcaygeon. It’s a subdivision of 14, upscale homes. Bashir Somani has owned the home on Peller Court for approximately a year and according to the Homeowners Association he has never lived there, instead renting it out for up to $500 a night.

Somani admits there have been problems with the Airbnb but he says he is working to address the situation. “We did have a few issues and now we are trying to be very careful with who we rent to.” Bashar Somani says. Somani says he has gotten to know some of the neighbours and likes them.

The Rolling Hills Homeowners Association has gone to City of Kawartha Lakes (CKL)Council asking for a bylaw against Airbnb’s in quiet residential neighbourhoods. “This is not the neighbourhood for this type of activity in my opinion and in the opinion of the rest of the homeowners. We’ve asked them to look at passing a bylaw to govern short-term rentals in the City of Kawartha Lakes and specifically Rolling Hills Subdivision.” Don says. “We know this is going to take some time and it will require a lot of study to do it properly, so in the short-term we requested the CKL pass what they call an “Interim Control Bylaw” which would prohibit short term rentals in Rolling Hills until such time as they do a larger study.”

The situation escalated after the association petitioned council, with Somani sending a letter to the homeowners association on August 9th saying he was going to rent the home for three years, to a Motor Bike Club from Montreal. “We obviously took exception to it.” Don told Kawartha 411. “We didn’t know whether to take it as an idle threat or a real threat so we acted on the basis it was real.” The association notified the City and the OPP on Friday but have not yet heard back from either one.

Somani says it was a bluff. “There’s no way I would do that. They are wonderful people.” he says. “I love them”

Other municipalities have regulated short term rentals. The Town of Blue Mountain dealt with the issue in 2014.

The Town of The Blue Mountains Short Term Accommodation (STA)Licensing By-law came into effect July 2, 2014 and provides for a system of licensing of STA premises or premises that are rented out for 30 says or less.

The town says the intent of the By-law is to balance the needs of property owners with those of residents looking for safe, adequate and properly maintained STA premises.

Under the STA Licensing Program, property owners must apply for and obtain a licence, and renew it bi-annually.  The licence may be suspended or revoked by the Town should the property owner not comply with the provisions of the By-law.  If the STA premises is sold, the new owner must apply for a new licence, which includes providing all necessary documentation and having the necessary inspections completed.

The City of Toronto and Mississauga are also looking at the issue.

The Homeowners Association hopes the issue will be addressed when council comes back from summer recess on August 22nd.

Although he has the home listed for sale Somani says he plans to keep renting it out in the interim.


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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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