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Issues arising with short-term rentals

Letter to council describes nightmare of temporary renters

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A controversial issue has come knocking on Oshawa’s doorstep.

In recent months, the City of Toronto has been wrangling with trying to decipher how to properly regulate temporary, short-term rental properties, like those listed on websites such as Airbnb, with a set of proposed rules released earlier this month.

Now, one Oshawa resident is pleading with the city to implement similar rules as she is already seeing the home next to hers extensively rented out by the owners who do not live there.

“In a few short weeks, what was a peaceful neighbourhood, has become a nightmare. The uncertainty of what each night will bring has caused an enormous amount of stress on the neighbourhood, but mostly to the homes on either side,” states Elizabeth Anderson in a letter to the city’s Corporate Services committee. “Already, there have been many sleepless nights, late night parties, numerous cars and guests, people in and out, and men urinating in the driveway.”

For this reason, Anderson is proposing that the city implement similar rules to Toronto in order to stop these incidents from happening in the future.

“It is extremely important that the city puts a bylaw in place to protect all its citizens from something like this moving in next door to them,” she writes.

Included in Toronto’s proposed regulations are the requirements that residents are only allowed to rent out their principle residents, anyone looking to rent out their home or apartment must first register with the city and pay a $50 annual fee, and companies that facilitate this type of business, like Airbnb, must pay $1 for every night booked via their platform along with a $5,000 application fee.

Regulating new technologies and businesses is nothing new to the City of Oshawa who are currently working through the process of creating regulations for transportation network companies like Uber, and also approved a set of controversial regulations for the designated driver industry last year.

However, to move forward with regulations for the temporary rentals, commissioner of corporate services Bev Hendry says something will need to be pushed back. Hendry told councillors during the Dec. 4 Corporate Services committee meeting that it would more than likely be in the second or third quarter of 2018 before staff could start researching and developing any such regulations.

“It’s a new item on our list and we’ve been watching what some of the other municipalities are doing,” she said. “It’s complicated and we want to do a good job.”

The item was referred to staff in order to facilitate a future report.