Short-term Rentals

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The Township of Lake of Bays is undertaking a review of short-term rentals (STRs). Beginning in August 2019, Township staff were directed by Council to investigate the short-term rental of residential properties with no on-site management. STRs are generally understood to refer to rental of a residence, or part of a residence, for short periods of time (a month or less).

A comprehensive community engagement process took place from January 14th to March 20th of 2020. The results from this public feedback showed significant support for the regulation of STRs. After being presented to Council in August 2020, Council directed staff to investigate options for STR regulation and to conduct additional public consultation. This will help determine the approach the Township should take to regulate short-term rentals.

Input on how best to regulate STRs was collected using a survey which was open from September 25th to November 9th. The data is now being analysed and the findings will be presented to Council in a staff report scheduled for March 2021. In the meantime, to learn more about the STR review, please refer to the documents available on this page.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INPUT!

The Township of Lake of Bays is undertaking a review of short-term rentals (STRs). Beginning in August 2019, Township staff were directed by Council to investigate the short-term rental of residential properties with no on-site management. STRs are generally understood to refer to rental of a residence, or part of a residence, for short periods of time (a month or less).

A comprehensive community engagement process took place from January 14th to March 20th of 2020. The results from this public feedback showed significant support for the regulation of STRs. After being presented to Council in August 2020, Council directed staff to investigate options for STR regulation and to conduct additional public consultation. This will help determine the approach the Township should take to regulate short-term rentals.

Input on how best to regulate STRs was collected using a survey which was open from September 25th to November 9th. The data is now being analysed and the findings will be presented to Council in a staff report scheduled for March 2021. In the meantime, to learn more about the STR review, please refer to the documents available on this page.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INPUT!

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
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    Some of us need to rent out our cottages to ensure that we can keep them! Now, with COVID here, some of us have lost our jobs, too, so the income saved our family's life this summer. Not all of us are as lucky as the lady across the lake (who actually uses binoculars to watch my renters, and wastes NO time contacting me if their enjoyment is different from hers! Who makes her the steward of the county?). She and her husband have high profile jobs and can afford their own cottage. Not all of us are as lucky as the people whose grandfathers built them a place, which is now paid off, and cannot support the cottage with our incomes. Some of us renting are using the cottage rental season to pay for the cottage expenses, while we save for our retirement (which is the cottage). We are disappointed and would be very upset if the government stepped in and began controlling OUR enjoyment of OUR cottage with our Short Term Rental plan for yearly upkeep and long-term retirement plans. There should not be ANY regulations regarding cottage rentals. In cases where there are parties or where there are issues, the police or township can be called for complaints, and they can be handled that way. There is enough legislation and regulation in our lives. I have further comments for people who have complained that our renters may be bothering you: What about your husband who drips all kinds of gasoline in the lake when he fills your boat? What about your dog who gets let out 2-3 times per day and relieves himself on your grounds, and then the smell wafts over to us? What about your old septic + 40 years, as compared to our newer septic? What about the chickens kept on one of the properties on the lake? Aren't they damaging the environment? What about the time your kids came up with their friends and parties way into the night? You didn't knew, but we sure did. We minded our own business, because we believe your family has the right to enjoy your property the way we do, too. What about every long weekend rock music bellowing from across the lake? No - you don't rent your property like us, but your choice of music may not be our choice of music, but still we have to listen regardless. Have we complained? No - it's only once in awhile and we believe you have the right to enjoy your property without our intervention. What about the VERY SHINY LIGHT that kills our eyes and that comes from across the lake (yes - a non-renter!)? Have you considered the light pollution? What about the 'nature lady' at the end of the lake who feeds the animals? Yes, she loves to see the deer around (and they have added to the 'beauty' of the area, she says), but according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, feeding deer is not good for them, This is not to mention that the food left out may eventually attract beers! What about the family at the point who burns all their leaves on their very large property every fall, sending all kinds of smoke to our side if the wind is right, or the other way if the wind is to the north? No, you are not renters, but you are also bothering us and our enjoyment. Do we complain? NO - because we believe you have the right to enjoy your property. Yes - we have made mistakes in our lives, and perhaps so have a couple of our renters, but FYI and wake up - SO HAVE YOU (as per the notes above, and many others - I could go on and on). We are completely offended by this blatant propensity to over-regulate and we do hope that Lake of Bays has the sense to consider the enjoyment of ALL property owners to use their properties as they see fit.

    Terry asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your comments. Please see the list below summarizing your main points to ensure we have collected the right information, as well as a list of relevant by-laws:

    1. Some property owners need to rent to supplement their income to cover the cost of owning a second property in the Township.
    2. There should be no regulations regarding cottage rentals.
    3. Rental properties where there are by-law violations can be addressed by the Township or OPP. 
    4. “Over-regulation” of STRs in the Township not required
    5. A list of some by-law concerns, according to which by-law regulates that area:
    • Property Standards By-law – dog excrement that accumulates
    • Building inspection – septic systems that may have failed
    • Backyard Hens by-law – chickens are not allowed on residential properties on the lake
    • Noise by-law – partying after hours
    • Dark Skies by-law – the light that creates glare from across the lake
    • Open air burning by-law – burning leaves either at the wrong time or allowing smoke into their house


    We appreciate your concerns and thank you for your input. To clarify, Council is not pursuing the prohibition of STRs within the Township, but rather they are seeking input on what form of regulation would ensure STRs are operating safely and respectfully. Rental properties that create by-law violations can continue to be regulated under current by-laws (noise, dogs, etc.) but Council has requested that staff investigate additional regulation options.  

    If you have concerns related to the by-laws listed above, please make a request for service to By-law Services. These requests for service are the only way to address concerns from the public and ensure by-laws are being followed.

    To place a request for service or clarify the points above, please contact the By-law Enforcement Officer Chris Collings at 705-635-2272 ext. 246

    Respectfully, 

    The STR Team



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    Do we need a license to do STRs? If you don't have one, what are the fines? Where do you go to apply for a license and what needs to be provided? Do we need to pay more taxes if we do STRs?

    Alex asked 4 months ago

    Currently you do not require a license to operate a short-term rental in the Township of Lake of Bays. The Township is currently reviewing short-term rentals to determine if they should be regulated. One of the options for regulation is a licensing program. However, the details about how short-term rentals will be regulated will not be finalized until next spring. A staff report with recommendations is scheduled to go to Council in March 2021. To learn more about the review please read the documents on the Short-term Rentals site. 

     

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    Hey Toothfairy, I do STR at my family cottage when we aren't there. Covid is a big concern for us and our family. During the first shutdown we stopped hosting altogether. Even if we wanted to continue to host we couldn't. The rental platform we use (Air BnB) automatically cancelled all our bookings and refunded our guests. When the shutdowns stopped we had to take a test and train our cleaners to follow this Covid cleaning protocol: https://www.airbnb.ca/help/article/2809/what-is-airbnbs-5step-enhanced-cleaning-process If shutdowns resume on a federal, provincial, or municipal level we will follow the recommendations and Air Bnb does as well. Every guest that stays at our cottage rates us on a scale of 1-5 for many different criteria. Cleanliness is one of the criteria. If we fall below a 4 out of 5 cleanliness rating we get kicked off the rental platform altogether. I hope this helps! I was also concerned about how to proceed with Covid and feel very good about how we have adapted. Hey Meg, RE: My property has been greatly disrupted by STR next door. Renters do not seem to be vetted. Loud parties, insane amounts of dangerous and loud jetskiing. Report it. Cottage like these give STRs a bad name. There are existing by-laws in place that you can use. Here is a quick reference to the by-laws: https://www.lakeofbays.on.ca/en/municipal-services/by-laws.aspx I'd suggest starting with the noise by-law: "A general guide to the noise by-law demonstrates that most noise, whether residential or construction related, is not allowed any night after 9:00 p.m., and not before 7:00 a.m. between Monday and Saturday and not before noon on Sundays." For the noise you can submit by-law infractions here: https://www.lakeofbays.on.ca/en/municipal-services/by-law-enforcement.aspx# Operating a vessel in a dangerous manner is in violation of the Criminal Code of Canada. You can and should call the cops if they are driving recklessly and endangering your children. Lastly, if the noisy renal is using Air Bnb there is a strict no party policy. Groups of 16 or more are not allowed. You can report direct to Air Bnb and they will kick them off their rental platform. https://www.airbnb.ca/help/article/2704/party-and-events-policy The existing policy and by-laws give you lots of options with how to handle problem hosts/ renters. I know if I was hosting and getting fines for being too noisy and that the rental platform was going to kick me off for partying I would stop real quick!

    Alex asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your input. Your comments have been received and recorded by the STR Team.

    Regards, 

    The STR Team

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    In my opinion, the existing bylaws are sufficient to regulate cottage country as they always have been. Over regulation is not only an economic disincentive to tourism compared to other communities in Muskoka, but it risks setting up a complaint culture that goes against cottage living. Respecting the existing bylaws and addressing concerns between neighbours when issues arise is the best approach. For example, the noise bylaw prohibits most sounds that are “clearly audible at a point of reception” past 7pm (yelling, singing, engines, construction etc.), and all others past 11pm (music, bells, motorized vehicle etc.). In other words, if you can “hear” the sound past those times, it is prohibited. That is certainly tough enough. More rules and regulations are the last thing our community needs. Neighbours and the community following the ones that are already in place in the answer. I believe that if people were brought up to speed on the comprehensive nature of the existing bylaws most would agree that more rules and regulations are not necessary.

    Ryan asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your input. Your comments have been received and recorded by the STR Team. 

    Respectfully,  

    The STR Team

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    My property has been greatly disrupted by STR next door. Renters do not seem to be vetted. Loud parties, insane amounts of dangerous and loud jetskiing. My kids hated swimming when these teens were out jetskiing around all day. Despite constant complaints to owners, rental agency (Jane's) and police, nothing could be done. It was very stressful and upsetting. It was apparent that money was more important. When you're renting for >$20k a week, you don't care about others around you.

    Meg Atkinson asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your input. Your comments have been received and recorded by the STR Team. Please consider completing the survey to help us gather input on which regulations would be most appropriate to address the issues you raise. 

    Regards, 

    The STR Team

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    I would like to know how thorough cleaning, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic, can be ensured between renters. This would be of benefit to both the renters and also the cottage owners when advertising their properties for rent. Leaving the cleaning up to the renters and the owners not checking before next renters, is a potential for disaster. Perhaps when the list of rules and Regulations for STR is written, either proof that the cleaning has been done or in these Covid times, a mandatory professional cleaning has been completed. The owners could either write off this amount at tax time as an expense or increase the rental for the amount.

    Toothfairy asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your input. Your suggestions have been received and recorded for further investigation by the STR Team. The questions you raise regarding cleaning and COVID-19 will be considered in consultation with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit as part of this project.  If your question relates to a specific rental property that you have concerns with, perhaps reaching out to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit would provide some direction for you.

    Respectfully,

    The STR Team


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    I want to know why this action is taking place. I am not aware of major issues with rental properties, where can I find out about complaints? I understand the issue in Huntsville where rental apartments are becoming limited because of short term rentals but how does renting out a cottage impact the community in a negative way?

    Terry Schacht asked 5 months ago

    Hello Terry, 

    Thank you for your questions. On August 20, 2019, Resolution #7(c)/08/20/19 was passed by Council directing staff to investigate options in managing Short-term Rental (STR) of residential properties in the Township and report back with a recommendation. This resolution was in response to deputation to Council raising concerns regarding the increase in the short-term rental of residential properties with no on-site management. It was stated that the property owners abutting these STRs are being severely impacted and are very concerned with the effect the STRs are having on the environment and the enjoyment of their properties. Property owners were requesting municipal assistance in addressing these issues. The resolution stated that Council is concerned with these residential properties operating as commercial entities and the consequences it is having on Township of Lake of Bays ratepayers/property owners. Overall, complaints received have primarily been related to noise, garbage, # of people, parking, use of trailers, septic, and fires during restricted times. Note: If you have further questions about how complaints are handled and referred to in the staff report, please contact the Township By-Law Officer.

    On October 22nd, 2019, a further deputation was heard by Council regarding STRs, reiterating key concerns from the perspective of local resort owners and urging Council to address the issue of STRs.

    Since then, staff have been working to investigate options in managing STRs, including a public engagement process that ran from January 14th, 2020 to March 20th, 2020. This public engagement showed a majority of respondents wanting some form of regulation for STRs in the Township.

    On August 19th, 2020, staff presented a report to Council that included the public input in favour of STR regulation, options for STR regulation, a review of best-management practices, an educational document for property owners, and a recommendation that if Council approves pursuing options for regulation, they approve another public engagement process. Resolution #7(a)(i)/08/19/20 was passed based on this report, whereby staff were directed to continue to monitor STR-related issues, investigate options for STR regulation, conduct additional public consultation, release an educational document for property owners, and obtain a legal opinion on the operation of STRs under existing planning documents. The survey currently available is designed to gather public input on which regulations would be most appropriate, and based on feedback received, Council and staff will consider the implications of the regulatory documents.

    For further discussion on the project to date, please contact the STR team.

    Respectfully,

    The STR Team