Short term rental on site operators exempt from Plympton-Wyoming licensing

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There will be a bylaw to govern AirBnB-type rentals in Plympton-Wyoming. But the municipality may not be able to issue fines as the summer season ramps up.

The town has been dealing with complaints about short term rentals along Lake Huron from companies like ‘Airbnb’ for a number of years. There are more than 50 units in the municipality – most along the lake with many being operated by rental companies or investor/owners.

Residents, particularly in Blue Point, have voiced concern about the number of people in the rental homes, cars clogging the streets and loud parties.

After the 2022 election, Mayor Gary Atkinson said regulating the industry was one of his priorities. But it has proven to be a more difficult policy to bring together than he envisioned.

Council took another look at the proposals from the town staff Feb. 26. After comments from some councillors about whether the town needed a regulatory system at all, council decided to move forward with a licensing system.

Plympton-Wyoming’s Chief Administrative Officer, Adam Sobanski, said council directed staff to have the bylaw include rules which limit the number of people in any rental unit to 10 people. It would also limit the number of cars on the property – one spot for every two bedrooms in the rental – and owners will have to provide parking spaces on site.

Street parking is one of the biggest issues the municipality deals with at short term rentals.
The owners will need to provide their contact information and be available to take calls about any issues with short term rents in 30 minutes.

Other ideas councillors had made to curb the problems were nixed. It was suggested the town limit the number of licences issues but lawyers said that wasn’t legal.
Nor will the town require owners of rental units to list the municipality as an additionally insured party on their policy.

And a suggestion to make sure the units had a land line telephone – due to poor cellphone coverage along the lakeshore – was also nixed.

While councillors wanted to curb some of the ‘party problems’ associated with the rentals, many said people in the community who rent units while they’re on the property should not face the same requirements.

Council asked staff to waive the provisions of the proposed by-law for owner occupied short term rentals and simply have them register the unit with the town.

The proposed bylaw would require a $1,000 licensing fee. There are also fines ranging from $200 to $900 proposed for everything from not picking up recycling bins to disturbing the neighbours. Town staff will revise the bylaw for council to approve. After that the public will have another look at the proposed rules.

It’s not clear if the new rules will be in place in time for this summer’s rental season.