DAN CEARNS, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The City of Kawartha Lakes will investigate the possibility of a licensing system for short-term rental properties in the municipality.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting, on Tuesday, June 7th, councillors approved a memorandum, from Ward 1 Councillor Emmett Yeo. It called for city staff to “continue to monitor and track complaints this summer,” regarding these types of properties and then to craft and bring back a report early in 2023, “with budget considerations and options to regulate and license short term rentals in Kawartha Lakes.”

At the meeting, councillors heard a deputation from Linda Dyson regarding the negative effect these properties can have on neighbouring properties.

“With outside investors and companies buying up properties at an alarming rate, some areas will have an equal amount of short-term rentals as permanent residents, shortly, or outweigh them completely,” she said. “Not everyone wants to live beside a possible party house, and [people] should be given a choice. Property values in these saturated areas are also in question. For many of us, we’ve lived and worked in this area all of our lives, and we’ve worked hard to retire here and enjoy what we’ve built, with our children and our grandchildren. Now we’re being harassed and intimidated into moving out of the area and away from areas [which] do not regulate short-term rentals.”

Short-term rental properties can include Airbnbs and VRBOs (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

“It is clear, the one main issue is with owners [who] do not live in or near the community, and have no respect for the beautiful area they are infecting,” Ms. Dyson stated.

Councillor Yeo explained why he decided to create this memorandum.

“This discussion has been going on for a while. I get numerous calls and complaints from people who have had short-term rentals pop up all around them,” he said. “People are getting irate at what is going on in their neighbourhoods, and I can’t blame them. Nobody wants to live beside something like that.”

Ward 4 Councillor Andrew Veale questioned why the city is going through another monitoring phase on this issue, when they’ve already “been monitoring this for a while.”

However, Mayor Andy Letham explained it would be better to have more information before making any decisions on a licensing program.