Airbnbs are not flying with a Salmon Arm resident who wrote recently to city council.
“My concern is that Airbnb rentals do nothing to alleviate any of our rental or housing shortages and they are not a positive addition to any residential neighbourhood,” Ann Smith wrote in an Oct. 19 email.
She said she and her spouse live in a residential neighbourhood and should have the right to peace and quiet. However, she has had Airbnb rentals on three sides of her home at the same time, causing duress and anxiety.
“I have been sworn at, yelled at, had garbage dumped on our lawn, had sewage effluent dumped from an Airbnb ‘guest’ vehicle onto the lawn of our property, have had to endure smoke of all kinds at all hours of the night, yelling, screaming from the hot tub through the night and inappropriate vehicle parking, speeding and traffic issues.”
She suggested the number of bed and breakfast sites in any given neighbourhood be restricted.
Smith said she has also observed that several R-8 or residential suite zone properties are not renting out their suites for affordable long-term rentals but instead nightly rentals. She said the zoning doesn’t allow Airbnb rentals and the city should follow up with the owners.
“I would suggest that the City needs to revamp their Airbnb ‘look the other way approach’ and create levels of application and approvals, also generating an income stream to help bolster our Bylaw and Enforcement work…”
Coun. Tim Lavery noted that the community housing report is coming to council (Nov. 9 meeting) and there will be all kinds of policy implications for council to consider. He said short-term rentals, how to proceed with them, the cost of monitoring them and other factors will be part of the ongoing discussion.
Coun. Kevin Flynn said he has heard anecdotally that the monthly rent for downtown buildings in Toronto has plummeted over the last four months because of COVID-19 and people are now looking to do long-term rentals.
He acknowledged the local issues.
“We’ve heard the concerns and the director of development services has told us it’s very difficult to police. But I do think it’s important we do look at this in our long-term policy because lots of people in the actual business of hotels and things have been questioning how many Airbnb we have as well.”