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Niagara Falls
Sunday, April 14, 2024
Letter to the editor: Short-term rentals law is being ignored


Dear Editor,

This is in response to the letter to the editor, by Alison Hepburn, dated April 4, 2019.

NO. The Town of NOTL is NOT enforcing the short-term rental bylaw. Our community has been battling with town staff regarding absentee owner-owned Airbnb rentals in our residential community since last summer.  

The staff gave two properties three-bedroom cottage rental licences in spite of the fact that both properties have more than three bedrooms. Had town staff licensed these properties correctly as villas, properties within 400 feet of the proposed villa property would have been notified and given a chance to appeal.

Town staff continue to defend the five-bedroom rental property on our street as a three-bedroom cottage rental even though the rental listing shows pictures of all five bedrooms and invites nine to 10 guests. 

Those of us in Garrison Village are determined to change this situation and welcome all residents to join us in our fight. 

We suggest that:

1. All issues with short-term rentals be reported each and every time by going to notl.org, clicking on Customer Services, then the online request & complaint form and making your complaint. Why? Because every time you send an email, town staff direct you to do this.

2. Continually send letters of complaint to your councillors and to Peter Todd, the town clerk.

3. Coun. Stuart McCormack is working on the new short-term rental bylaw. We need this one to have “teeth.” Please offer your suggestions to this councillor. 

4. Also, during conversations with councillors, we have heard repeatedly that they believe we need to hire more bylaw enforcement officers to work on a 24/7 basis.  It is my opinion that if a solid bylaw is created then this won’t be necessary.  And I do not believe our property taxes should ever be used to monitor these businesses.  They just need to be run correctly.

In my opinion, all short-term rentals within residential communities need to be owner-occupied. They should be limited to the rental of two bedrooms with maximum occupancy of two people per bedroom. 

The rooms need to meet all fire regulations and egress protocols. No street parking should be allowed. 

The new bylaw needs to supersede any previous short-term rental bylaws and licences. Short-term rental properties will not be licensed if they have pools and hot tubs, for obvious safety reasons.

Please advocate for yourself, because no one else will.

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