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Aug. 19, 2019 | Monday
Local News
Town urged to crack down on short-term rentals
One NOTL resident spoke against short-term rentals in residential areas. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

All short-term vacation rentals in residential areas should be owner-occupied homes, a Garrison Village resident told town councillors Monday night.

Kurt Hagan appeared before council’s committee of the whole to speak on behalf of a group of residents in Garrison Village and Old Town. Visitors staying at short-term rental accommodations often cause disruptions and negatively affect the neighbours, he said.

“What we believe is that our neighbourhoods, by definition, should be shaped by and defined by long-term neighbours, not by short-term visitors,” Hagan said.

Among the issues he cited were excessive daytime noise and noise after 11 p.m., parking and traffic problems, littering and rentals being vacant in the off-season. If additional enforcement staff is required to monitor the rentals, neighbours would have to pay for them through their own municipal taxes, he said.

There is also no limit on the number of renters per unit and no limit on the number of short-term vacation rentals in residential areas, said Hagan.

When property owners or rental management companies are absent or don’t occupy the property themselves, they’re not held responsible for their guests’ behaviour, said Hagan.

“No absentee landlords. All short-term vacation rentals must be owner-occupied,” said Hagan and suggested a number of solutions which he said will mitigate the issues.

The first suggestion is that short-term vacation rentals only be allowed in commercially zoned areas, not residentially zoned areas. Hagan also recommended imposing a “noise deposit.” The renters would pay the landlord or a management company a deposit ensuring they don’t cause noise. If there are no complaints about the noise made to the town within the next business day, the deposit would be refunded.

“If, however, complaints have been made to the municipality, the owner or a management company would be obliged to forward the noise deposit to the municipality,” Hagan explained to The Lake Report. “Failure to do this would result in the revocation of their license.”

He also said there should be a system for tracking complaints from “intrusive properties” and after three complaints, owners’ licences would be revoked.

“Most of all, we believe that our particular problem can be solved by mandating that all short-term vacation rental properties be owner-occupied, not operated by property management companies and corporations with no motivation but profit,” Hagan concluded.

“Let us welcome visitors here to Niagara-on-the-Lake. But let’s maintain our community values and have these visitors hosted by neighbours.”

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