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HomeNewsCouncil takes a closer look at regulating short term residential rentals

Council takes a closer look at regulating short term residential rentals

KAWARTHA LAKES- Drug overdose deaths, speeding, drunken parties and dogs running loose are just a few of the incidents that concern residents living near some short term rental properties in the City of kawartha Lakes.

“When people have a choice of renting a waterfornt party house for $800 a weekend packed with 20 people at $40 each or going to a commercially available rental where they would have to pay much more and mind their p’s and q’s…. need I say more,” Bob Brockman told council. “People will always go for the best bang for their buck.”

Brockman says his neighbour found himself in the middle of a nightmare when a young girl overdosed at the short term rental property next door, in September. Her friends came banging on his door on Summer Lane on Lake Scugog. He found the young woman lying unconscious on the floor and had to move drug paraphernalia in order to provide CPR. She died later in hospital.”The very fact that there are no regulations for short term residential rentals can only signal that CKL is wide open for outsiders buy and rent out properties, the advent of Kijiji and Airbnb and others has allowed complete strangers to come into our unsuspecting neighbourhoods.” Brockman told council. Police were called to investigate.

The Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association told of similar stories in their neighbourhood in August. 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.

A report by city staff recommended that council leave the status quo and not regulate Airbnb’s saying the issue was not pervasive enough in the City. But homeowners disagreed and asked council to initiate a review.

The President of the Rolling Hills Homeowners Association, Harold Bartlett said “Let me make myself clear, I am not here to request all short term residential rentals be banned, many fill a void, what I  am asking for is the adoption of a regulatory framework” He says there is clear and convincing evidence they don’t work in some areas. “These types of rentals, in low density residential neighbourhoods such as Rolling Hills undermine the integrity and character of the community in which they are situated”

Barry Hawe lives next door to a short term rental in Little Britain. He says they aren’t good for the community and they aren’t good for business. “We’d like to say at the end it isn’t about tourism and economic development. What we see is a bunch of cars come in on friday night and they dont move until they check out on Sunday, so my point is as far as economic develpment goes wouldn’t businesses sooner have a steady family to patronize their business?”

Councillor Pollard agreed saying “It’s a real problem because many of the people who are coming are coming for the weekend and they don’t buy there goods here, they dont buy whatever other things they are using, locally, they are just here for a good time.”

He says he received numerous phone calls and emails form angry residents “My people are complaining about drunkenness, loud parties at all hours of the day and night, loose dogs, very large bonfires, sometimes unattended” he remarked, while holding up a file folder full of emails.

But the Tourism Development Department says the vast majority of visitors to the City are using short term rentals, “70% of our overnight visitors are staying in private cottage rentals, there’s 1.4 million stays a year so cottage rentals are really, really important to our tourism.” Laurie McCarthy told council. “Not only are 70 percent of accommodations short term rentals, these visitors stay longer and spend more in our community.”

McCarthy says they spend money in our community, promote Kawartha Lakes as a tourist destination and some comunities are using Airbnb’s to grow tourism. “Registered BnB’s are using Airbnb , I don’t think a lot of people realize that Airbnb’s are a platform for our registered properties as well.”

Pollard encouraged residents to call police or the fire deparmtent when they have a problem. “I used to tell my staff, dont bring me problems bring me solutions, at least think it through, where we are at is, we need solutions.”

“We can use legislation we already have, if there’s loud noise, call the police, if there’s impaired operation of a car, ATV, skidoo or a boat, call the police, if theres a large bonfire that getting out of hand, call the fire department,” Pollard told residents in council chambers.

Councillor James commented with 250 lakes and rivers in the City he couldn’t imagine any other municipality being effected more by short term rentals. “I was a little shocked with this report in that it didn’t include the costs, it didn’t define what short term rentals are is it one night one weekend?”

Councillor Stauble thought renters should be made aware of the bylaws and regulations already in place in the City, “We need to make sure that the renters know what the bylaws are and the the owner makes them aware of the bylaw and neighbours know how to report them.”

Others struggled to impose more regulations on residents, “This is the part I always struggle with, a very small number of people who cause problems and then its the good people who are effected when we regulate it.” Councillor Breadner said.

Pollard put forth a motion to have staff explore a few options and some pricing for regulating short term rentals and bring them back to council in 2018. The motion passed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four people made presentations for council today asking for the city to implement regulations on property owners who rent their homes to vacationers from out of town.

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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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