PW mayor ready to tackle short term rentals

Rentals along Plympton-Wyoming's lakefront on Airbnb.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Plympton-Wyoming, you have plenty of choices – 54 according to international websites which connects travellers – or even partiers – to places to stay.

And if you want to stay along the shores of Lake Huron, there are at least 24 homeowners offering you a place to stay – for a price.

Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Gary Atkinson knows all about the booming short term rental market in the mostly rural municipality. He usually hears about the downsides.

“I don’t like getting those phone calls or people saying, ‘my family’s just been threatened because we’re going out for a while and the people that are renting it are all drunk and they want to fight us. They’re flying drones over our house.’ You know, like, come on, folks,” he says.

The constant parties along the lakeshore in rental homes has been an issue for sometime. In 2020, about 30 residents of Blue Point sent the town a petition asking that short term rentals be banned in Blue Point. They underscored the fact that according to the official plan of the town, rentals should only happen when the homeowner is there. 

Increasingly, short term rentals have become big business. Just a quick perusal of the Airbnb website shows some of the homes for let in Blue Point are owned by companies specializing in short term rentals.

The town has approved some policies around short term rentals in the official plan in October 2021, but there are still no concrete policies to regulate the industry which has doubled in Plympton-Wyoming since 2020.

Atkinson says nearby Lambton Shores has put a regulation in place. It goes into affect Feb. 1. Lambton Shores rules allow only two people per bedroom or 10 to a home, two parking spaces for homes where 10 people will be staying, a fire safety plan, proof of $2 million in liability insurance and a renters code of conduct.

Atkinson wants to take a look at the bylaw as Plympton-Wyoming considers its next move.

“I think we have to not only recognize, though, that this is a business, but also we have to be very cognizant of those people that live in the neighborhood and live around. If somebody’s got the house rented, and you’re only allowed to have six people or whatever, but yet there’s 15 cars and people walking the streets and surrounding area for a party, I have an issue with that.”

Town staff is scheduled to lay out a plan to figure out just how to regulate the short term rental industry.

Atkinson realizes that means a great deal of work in a short time frame but he’s hopeful regulations can be in place by the time the summer rental season rolls around.