RESPONSIBLE RENTING

St. Edmunds Property Owners, Inc. supports that concept and practice of RESPONSIBLE Short Term Rentals.

Renting a summer cottage has been and remains a significant part of summer life in Ontario for as long as there have been cottages. Families consider staying in a cottage by the lake to be a special part of their family’s vacation time;  each year, they eagerly anticipate “going to the cottage”.  Cottage owners share with or rent their places to responsible family members, friends and others who, in many instances,  could not afford to own a cottage. If there were no cottages to rent, these people would take their money and go elsewhere. For the owner,  rent offsets ever increasing taxes, insurance, electricity and maintenance costs while providing vacation time for their renters; it’s a win win for landlords, the municipality and tenants.

Regrettably, in recent years, in a very few isolated instances, private cottages that are rented “short term” have been given a “bad rap” by being associated with excessive noise, overcrowding, ruckus behaviour and absentee landlords. Generally speaking, this trend is attributable to a very few irresponsible and greedy owners who rent to equally thoughtless individuals who show little or no regard for common courtesy and consideration towards the property, their neighbours or the community. This has created an unwarranted bad impression of rented cottages.

In the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula, there continues to be little or no response or follow up with the offending landlords and /or tenants about complaints reported to the municipality. Enforcing existing bylaws appears to be starting point in dealing with these few and unfortunate situations that are tarnishing the otherwise positive aspects of short term rentals.

These parameters should be the basis for RESPONSIBLE RENTING:

  • Number of occupants does not exceed the design capacity of the building and its septic system
  • Occupancy is “normal family” use  for which the building was designed and built.
  • Septic System is operating properly and is regularly maintained
  • When constructed, the building met all applicable building codes
  • The building and property meets all relevant fire codes
  • Minimum stay restricted to four nights.
  • The landlord is onsite or nearby or readily accessible 24/7 and is known to and readily accessible by the neighbours 24/7 in case of any emergency or tenant problems
  • Adequate on site parking for ALL vehicles associated with the property
  • Tenants are apprised of all “house rules” including absolute respect and consideration for the neighbours
  • No inconsiderate behaviour including no noise after 11:00 PM or before 9:00 AM
  • Tenants are aware of and comply with all ordinances including applicable Fire Bans and NO Fireworks

Municipalities of all sizes throughout this province are impacted by and  recognize the importance of “Seasonal Residents” or “Second Home Owners” who rent responsibly.  Several municipalities, most notably Kawartha Lakes and Tiny Township,  have Short Term Rental Policies in place that are viable examples for the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula.

The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, collected and tabulated data on the number and nature of complaints associated with rented cottages; looking at the small number of complaints, one has to wonder what all the fuss is about: COMPLAINTS RELATED TO STAs, 2017 – 2019 COMPLAINTS RELATED TO STAs RECEIVED

The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula conducted a survey during the winter of 2018-2019 in order to determine the number of Short Term Accommodations that exist in the municipality:  Short-Term-Accomodations-Survey-April-8-2019.pdf

December 16, 2019 the Consultant reported to Council, the first item was entitled “Best Practices, it draws a comparison to other municipalities.  STA Best Practices for STAs – Final Report (2) 16DEC19, it was followed by a detailed summary of the survey, STA Survey Results – Final Report (2) 16DEC19 and preliminary recommendations STA Recommendations Report (1) 16DEC19

Please take the time to follow and to read further on this page about solutions that other municipalities have put in place. In the meantime you may want to complete the survey:

SEPO  supports a position that hiring an outside consultant for this purpose was frivolous, particularly in light of the fact that this consultant lacks experience, as reflected in the poorly crafted STA survey questionnaire, that appears biased against short term rentals.. This project would have been better handled by existing municipal staff.  Did Mayor McIver and CAO Jones look at or did they contact municipalities that have adopted a common sense approaches in dealing with STA’s and if they did, what municipalities were contacted and to what end?

The City of Kawartha Lakes and The Municipality of Tiny Township have developed and implemented realistic, reasonable and user friendly Short Term Rental policies.  These are examples of what is needed in The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula!

Kawartha Lakes has dedicated a full web-page to the topic, including posters created to remind property owners and their visitors about by-law regulations and other important local information. https://www.kawarthalakes.ca/en/things-to-do/short-term-rentals.aspx

Kawartha Lakes  STAs Information for renters and property owners: Kawartha STA Information for Renters and Owners

Kawartha Lakes STAs Information Sheet for resident and property owner complaints: Kawartha STA Information for Complaints

Tiny Township has by far the best solution for STRs. https://www.tiny.ca/Pages/Short-Term-Rental-Information.aspx

FOCA, Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association, website page “Responsible Cottage Rental” outlines a number of aspects for “responsible renting” including links to practices in other municipalities. It can be found at this link https://foca.on.ca/responsible-cottage-rental/

Further at: The Reality of Rental Cottages

Penalize (STAs) Who Have Infracted, Not Those Who Are Responsibly Sharing
Homes Letter_ The Battle on the Bruce – Penalize (STAs) Who Have Infracted, Not Those Who Are Responsibly Sharing Homes _ Bruce Peninsula Press

At this time, the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula does not have a specific bylaw that is applicable to Rented Cottages.

The following Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula bylaws are applicable to the current debate:

Noise Bylaw:  Bylaw 2018-37 Noise

Fireworks Bylaw:  Bylaw 2014-25 Discharge of Fireworks

Dog Bylaw: Bylaw 2019-08 Dog Regulations

Tent and Trailer Bylaw:  Bylaw 2018-66 Tent and Trailer

Bed and Breakfast: Bed and Breakfast bylaw