Irek’s Votes – May 6, 2019

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
10.1 TWEPI Year in Review 2018 Yes 9-0 Presentation
10.2 PwC Internal Audit Quarterly Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.7 Rezoning 759 Rankin Yes 9-0 Delegation
8.6 Rezoning 3112 Wyandotte St. W Yes 8-1 Delegation
8.16 Rezoning 300 Giles E Yes 9-0 Delegation
8.19 Riverside Drive – Signage at Ford Blvd Yes 9-0 Delegation
8.14 Windsor sign bylaw Yes 9-0 Delegation
11.1 Blanket Exemption to Retail Business Holidays Act Yes 7-3 Delegation
11.2 Regulation of Short-Term Rental Housing Yes 7-3 Delegation
       
Council Question: Pet Shops Bylaw Update     Council Question
       

 

Item 11.2 – Regulation of Short Term Rental Housing [AirBnB]:

City Council passed a motion that asked administration to bring forward a framework for the regulation of Short Term Rental (STR) such as AirBnB.  Administration will first wait until a verdict is reached in the appeal that was brought against the City of Toronto by several operators of AirBnBs challenging their bylaws.  A decision in that appeal should come by the end of the summer.

Reviewing how other municipalities are handling AirBnBs in Ontario, North America and internationally – it becomes clear that there are significant variations in the regulatory framework adopted by cities, however only a handful of jurisdictions have instituted an outright ban.  For example, in Ontario the only one that I am aware of is the Town of Collingwood.

What I have also gathered through research and speaking with operators of AirBnBs in Ward 7 – is that the types of folks renting out a room have included: professors, doctors and young teachers who have started new jobs in Windsor and need a temporary home while they look for permanent housing; families traveling for hockey tournaments at the WFCU Centre; families traveling to visit relatives and friends, including those in hospital or nursing homes.  On average, operators of STRs rent rooms in their homes about 56 nights each year and they earn about $5,500 annually to supplement their income.  Folks that rent out their rooms are often seniors and young families looking to supplement their income.

What we are seeking is a balanced approach – one that allows residents to take advantage of this new sharing economy to supplement their income while serving as ambassadors to our great region for out-of-town visitors, while at the same time respecting residents who have the right to reside in peaceful, safe and secure neighbourhoods.

What I hope to see in the report are the following elements of a strong regulatory framework:

  • Allowing short-term-rentals only in primary residences where the homeowner is physically present. This provides a level of accountability to neighbours, allows bylaw enforcement and police officers an available contact person, and addresses the concern of the proliferation of STRs run by absentee landlords.
  • A licensing regime where operators have to register with City Hall and post a registration number along with their room advertisement

Of particular interest to some Home Owner Associations (HOA) is a recent ruling by the Superior Court of Ontario that ruled condo buildings can prohibit AirBnBs: https://business.financialpost.com/legal-post/ontario-court-ruling-says-condo-buildings-can-ban-sharing-services-such-as-airbnb

Whether that applies to HOAs remains to be tested.

Council Question –I brought forward the following CQ on Pet Shops Bylaw Update:  A group of residents approached me requesting a report on updating the Pet Shops section of the Animal Control ByLaw that deals with the sale of pets.

I was surprised to learn that many municipalities across Ontario including major cities such as Toronto, Mississauga, Kingston, Waterloo, Ottawa, Chatham-Kent and many others have enacted bans on the sale of pets at pet shops.

It is my understanding that most pet shops today do not sell pets – they simply facilitate adoption, and this is a way to disrupt puppy mills and other businesses that create conditions for animal abuse.

I am requesting on behalf of these residents a report that looks at what other municipalities have done to update the pet shops section of the animal control bylaw and provide recommendations moving forward.