Last month township council approved the second draft of a bylaw aimed at setting both the operating conditions for short-term rental (STR) properties within the municipality and the penalties if those conditions are not met. The bylaw is in response to complaints council heard last year from homeowners in neigbhourhoods where STRs are operating within the township.
Most of the complaints received concerned excessive noise at late hours and some worries about the behavior of people using STRs without adequate supervision or control. There were also concerns about whether some properties used as STRs were designed with the water and sewage utility capacity to handle the number of people occupying the premises.
During a phone interview Chief Administrator Luc Lalonde noted that while the bylaw was approved, township administration is still working on drafting the complete licensing guidelines for present and future STR approval applications. He confirmed that none of the existing STRs in operation will get automatic “grandfathering” approval under the new bylaw and the owners will have to review their properties and make any changes necessary to meet the bylaw’s operation conditions.
« Everyone will have to comply,” Lalonde said.
The 14-page bylaw document gives the definition of what an STR is and is not. Group homes run by social service agencies, hotels, motels, inns, or resorts, are not considered STRs, nor is a residence that is owned and operated by a college, university or other recognized post-secondary institution. Shelters run by non-profit groups as temporary residences for people in distress, long-term care facilities, and retirement homes also are not classed as STRs.
STR operators must get their properties licensed by the township and also provide certification about the drinking water supply setup and waste disposal system. A local contact must be listed and available for dealing with any complaints.
The bylaw includes limits on the number of people staying at an STR and on noise and other problems that may result from an STR’s operation. Three pages of the bylaw list all the licensing fees for an STR and the fines for violating operation conditions.