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Summerland one step closer to regulating short-term rentals

Series of bylaws to set framework for short-term accommodations in community
Summerland council has given third reading to a series of bylaws affecting short-term rentals in the community. (File image)

Regulation of short-term rentals in Summerland is one step closer to reality.

Following a public hearing on Feb. 14 on changes to existing bylaws, the new regulations received their third reading ahead of adoption.

The proposed regulations would require at least one primary residence dwelling unit on the lot, where someone lives most of the year and declares it as their principal home. Other regulations set a limit of one short-term rental unit per lot and a limit of one single detached dwelling manufactured home or secondary suite or carriage house.

A business license would also be required in order to operate a short-term rental unit. This license includes passing a health and safety inspection.

READ ALSO: Summerland introduces bylaws governing short-term rental units

READ ALSO: Opinions mixed on short-term rental units in Summerland

Members of the public spoke out about the potential effects of the regulation changes.

Trevor Moch, an out-of-province owner of a short-term vacation rental in Summerland, said his single-detached house is used year-round as a vacation rental unit. The property is professionally managed by a local company, he added.

Craig Bloom, who lives next to a short-term rental unit, said he has had issues with noise during the summer months, when the unit is busiest.

“The noise is constant, all day, every day, from the May long weekend to the end of September, and it’s unbearable,” he said. He suggested reducing the maximum capacity of a short-term rental house to six people.

Gary Regan also suggested a six-person maximum for short-term rentals.

Christa-Lee McWatters, who lives in Summerland and runs a short-term rental unit, said these rentals help the community.

“These short-term rentals are vital to our economy,” she said. “They spend millions of dollars in our local economy.”

Chris Pagliocchini said he is concerned about the real estate prices resulting from homeowners converting houses to short-term rental units. He said the trend could affect prices for people wishing to buy in the community.

Members of Summerland council also raised concerns about the effect of short-term rentals on Summerland’s economy.

Coun. Doug Holmes said it is hard to find a place to rent or own in the community. He added that there are 342 residential dwellings in Summerland which are used as short-term rental units, according to the most recent census information.

“We need to reconnect our housing supply to the local economy,” he said.

Mayor Toni Boot also raised concerns about the effect of short-term rentals on the affordability of homes within the community.

Coun. Erin Trainer said short-term rental units will affect the areas where they are located.

“I have to put our neighbourhoods first,” she said. “Otherwise, our neighbourhoods are going to turn into complete businesses.”

The third reading of the bylaws carried unanimously. The bylaws must now receive adoption.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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