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Kawartha Lakes short-term rental program work is "underway"


DAN CEARNS The Standard


KAWARTHA LAKES: City of Kawartha Lakes councillors heard an update on the implementation of the short-term rental properties licensing program, at a meeting on Tuesday, July 25th.

"It's well underway. We've set the program as a soft rollout with a phased-in approach. So we're starting to reach some of the milestones within that program," Aaron Sloan, the City's manager of municipal law enforcement and licensing, explained.

In June, councillors voted to "direct Staff to bring forward an amendment to the Fees By-Law," to: establish an annual licensing fee; have a licensing bylaw brought to a council meeting for approval; allow the city treasurer to "establish a 2023 operating budget, not to exceed $400,000, for the Municipal Law Enforcement and Licensing Division to fund staffing, equipment and resources, to fund the implementation of a Short Term Rental (STR) Licensing Program," and create a "Short Term Rental Reserve," to receive any surpluses from the program and to have an update report be brought to council in early 2024 about the program. The City will also be working with a vendor, to provide a 24-hour telephone complaint response, regarding this issue. Short-term rental properties can include Airbnbs and VRBOs (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Some of the concerns the public has brought up about short-term rentals include: the possibility of them becoming party houses, the potential for these places to negatively affect property values, residents fearing for their safety, and noise and garbage complaints.

"We've worked on the application process and intake, we've enhanced our complaint tracking more specifically towards short-term rentals, and [are] working with the respective police services to receive additional information from them. We've enhanced our communications and marketing awareness. The short-term rental webpage has been updated, and continues to be updated as additional portions of the program come online. We're partway through the build-out with the vendor for the 24-hour support and complaint monitoring line," Manager Sloan said.

He added, the city is currently "liaising with [short-term rental property] owners," to provide information and guidance, and is "looking to hire staff."

A Kawartha Lakes press release explained, the next steps. This month, will see "educational components on the website [created] along with launching the licensing and complaint tools."

For more information, visit the Kawartha Lakes short-term rental website, at www.kawarthalakes.ca/en/things-to-do/short-term-rentals.

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