In a landmark decision, the Council of the Municipality of Lakeshore gathered for their regular meeting on October 10, 2023, and voted to implement a zoning by-law amendment, effectively prohibiting short-term rental accommodations throughout the municipality. The move addresses concerns about the housing crisis, safety standards, and regulatory disparities.

At the forefront of this significant decision, Mayor Tracey Bailey expressed gratitude to those who voiced their opinions during the meeting, acknowledging that the Council had received feedback from supporters and opponents of the by-law amendment. She emphasized the gravity of the decision, describing it as the right move for Lakeshore.

“Global municipalities are grappling with the challenges posed by the surge in short-term rental operations, largely enabled by digital platforms and technology. Our primary objective is to level the playing field, ensuring that businesses in this sector adhere to the same regulations as other establishments, such as the successful bed and breakfast operators in Lakeshore,” Mayor Bailey stated.

She continued, “The undeniable fact is that we are confronting an unprecedented housing crisis, leading commercial enterprises to invest in houses and offer them as short-term rentals. These trends have intensified the pressure on our housing stock and rendered housing unattainable for many.”

In addition to the housing crisis, the Council raised concerns about safety standards, focusing on monitoring and enforcing the Ontario Building and Fire Codes.

Under the newly approved zoning by-law, short-term rental accommodations are defined as follows: “the commercial use of any residential dwelling unit, or part thereof, or a mobile home or accessory structure on a residential property, used as a place of temporary habitation, lodging or occupancy under authority of a concession, permit, lease, license, rental agreement, or similar commercial arrangement authorizing such temporary habitation, lodging or occupancy for a period equal to or less than twenty-eight (28) consecutive calendar days but does not include a Bed and Breakfast Establishment.”

This definition ensures that the prohibition will not affect long-term tenants’ rental of individual rooms, secondary suites, or homes. It further specifies that short-term rental accommodations are a commercial use, distinguishing them from allowing someone to stay as a guest without charge for a short-term period.

The amended zoning by-law mandates that short-term rental accommodations are no longer permitted in any zone. However, the rental or leasing of any residential property for overnight accommodation for fewer than 28 consecutive days will be subject to the same regulations as Bed and Breakfast Establishments, which are allowed in several zones. Bed and Breakfast establishments are limited to single detached dwellings. They must meet specific standards, including off-street parking and compliance with the Building Code and other municipal by-laws.

Mayor Bailey noted, “As a Council, we believe this approach strikes a fair balance, allowing Short-term Rental Accommodation operators to continue serving tourists and visitors while addressing pressing housing concerns.”

Additionally, the Council passed a motion to direct the administration to provide a report on options for licensing and regulating bed and breakfast establishments before considering the 2024 budget. This move signifies a proactive approach to ensure the sustainability of Lakeshore’s tourism and housing sectors.

By Matt Weingarden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tilbury Times Reporter

Original Published on Oct 15, 2023 at 21:28

This item reprinted with permission from   Tilbury Times Reporter   Comber Guelph, Ontario

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