File photo © Can Stock Photo / jhan.File photo © Can Stock Photo / jhan.

Registration mandatory for short-term rentals in Lambton Shores

Several short-term rental operators in Lambton Shores are voicing their displeasure with a new registration bylaw.

During Tuesday's meeting, councillors passed a bylaw mandating registration by STR properties by June 1, 2022.

Chris Lansdown with the Lambton Shores Short Term Rental Association (LSSTRA) appealed to council to put the bylaw on hold, and said the organization has unanimously voted in favour of seeking legal representation.

"LSSTRA recommends that council take a step back from this train wreck of a proposal, said Lansdown. "We're offering to work with this council. We represent the single largest STR organization in Lambton Shores and growing, and what better way to kick-start the registration process than to have LSSTRA's support and backing, currently you do not have that."

It's estimated there are currently about 300 short-term rental properties in Lambton Shores.

CAO Steve McAuley told councillors during the meeting that the addresses will be published on the municipality's website.

"What the intention is, is to publish a list of properties that are registered," said McAuley. "The reason for doing that is so people can tell if a property is registered for a short-term rental. So they see their neighbour renting it, they can look themselves and see it's o.k. it is registered and it saves them the call."

STR Operator Sarah Urban, with a property in Grand Bend, agrees the municipality should have a documented list of STR properties, however, it should not be made public.

"What is the purpose of publicly displaying this information," said Urban. "This is an invasion of property owners' privacy who choose to rent. It creates a target for people to complain, it creates a target for crime, advertising that these addresses are not permanently occupied."

Short-term rental operator Tamara Saeed said council doesn't really care to implement a program that will be accepted by everyone.

"We're not against a program, we're not against registration and all that, we just want something that's fair," said Saeed.

Councillor Jeff Wilcox voted against the registration requirement, the first phase of a comprehensive licensing program.

Council will consider the 'Short-Term Rental Licensing By-Law', which includes a proposed occupancy limit of 10 people per rental during its next meeting May 17, 2022.

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