South Frontenac residents' request for enactment of a Short Term Rental Policy and enhanced Bylaws

It is the view of the undersigned that there is a stringent need to inspect, license, monitor and control STRs. Especially in the case of the systematic encroachment by individuals, group investors and property management companies who target home purchases for rental income, often from outside the township, leading to unsupervised, large occupancy rentals. There are currently some very obvious issues with this:  

1.       Supervision/Selection and number of guests – Remote hosts are not able to adequately monitor the behavior of their guests leaving the chore in the hands of neighbors. In addition, the rating system provided by STRs that intend to assess and rate the behavior of guests is flawed and inaccurate by the lack of supervision mentioned, resulting in rentals to poorly behaving guests (AirBnB has also been accused of deleting poor reviews of both guests and hosts). Parties and exceeding house limits are forbidden. But lack of supervision cannot and does not enforce rules or punish transgressors during the currency of the rental or after

2.       Behavior of guests – Many of these groups consider themselves “on vacation”. Observed multi-day parties have shown that many guests are ignorant of lake etiquette as they engage in loud parties complete with extreme intoxication, shouting, singing, cheering, crowd chanting, swearing and unsafe water activities in kayaks/small craft,. This extends to the abuse of residents in the form of insulting passing boaters and intimidating neighbors

3.       Bylaws – Current bylaws are ill equipped to handle these situations. While they may handle late noise (23:00 to 7:00), unsupervised STRs can produce multi-day, sustained disturbances at all times of the day

4.       Complaint system – The only current recourse for  neighbors are tools like Airbnb’s Neighbor Support. This system provides no feedback concerning what conditions have been set on the offending STR owner or guests. Support is located in other countries and helpfulness and dependability minimal at best. Property Mgmt companies and multi-STR listings further obfuscate the ability to communicate. It does not make sense for a business to self regulate in this case. No accountability exists.

5.       Ignoring Lake health and safety – Visitors often do not show the same concern for the well being of the Lake and community as a resident would (pollution of lake with food wrappers/alcoholic beverage containers and COVID guideline breaches for instance). A lack of inspection and licensing also allows unlicensed home modifications and overcrowding that can lead to safety and health issues like wastewater problems   

6.       Affordable housing - One of the more significant issues that arises from “whole home” STRs is the impact on affordable housing. Those who buy homes with the intent of converting them to an STR literally remove that property for sale to those wanting to make a permanent move to our community and artificially increase prices. Similarly, long term rentals that are converted to short term drive down available housing for those who do not own  

We, the undersigned, request that South Frontenac Township study existing data and systems put in by other townships struggling with the same issues in order to enact at a minimum:  

Licensing/Inspection/Monitoring/Enforcement for STRs

Single source information regarding STR contacts

Emergency and transgression response OFF AND ON SITE within a reasonable period of time

Stronger bylaws such as 24/7 guidelines for noise including loud music and boisterous behavior

Guidelines for maximum STRs per Lake/Region, maximum guests, maximum days rented and areas allowed

NOTE: Please do not leave comments that could identify individual STRs. We are attempting to address a global industry disruptor that goes beyond benefitting the providers and customers by negatively impacting others (neighbors). We are not targetting individual cases

Rick Ottenhof and Gabor Solymar    Contact the author of the petition