Regulations coming for short term rental properties in Grand Bend

Those with short term rental properties in Grand Bend and elsewhere in Lambton Shores may soon have to follow a new set of rules.

The municipality is set to implement a new bylaw to regulate short term rentals such as Airbnbs.

It’s a measure to address the sometimes uneasy relationship between permanent residents and visitors.

Grand Bend local Fred Smith, who lives year-round in a home just off the main strip in the Bend, says most of the time the vacationers are just fine, but that’s not always the case.

“Oh a family is okay, most of them are pretty good,” he says. “It’s just when they used to have them proms, they’d come in to town and wreck stuff. You know that sort of thing. Noisy, rowdy, stealing, breaking things. But other than that, you know, most of them are pretty good.”

Among the rules in the proposed new bylaw are a $500.00 annual licensing fee, a cap of ten adults per unit, a parking plan, and a code of conduct.

Owner occupied properties would be exempt from the bylaw as long as there is no more than one rental unit on the property.

Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber says the plan follows a year and a half of extensive consultation with the community.

“We had 1,400 surveys returned Many of those issues were noise and large parties and gatherings and fires and that,” Weber says. “We hope to educate, and it’s all about caring for the neighbour.”

Weber says there are more than 300 short term rental properties in Lambton Shores that they have been able to account for. Many of them are owned by out-of-town investors.

Mark Perrin, the executive director of Tourism Sarnia Lambton, says these properties contribute significantly to the local tourism sector.

“It’s a market that not necessarily the hotels cover, so it creates new opportunities in the region,” he says. “And really, we find there’s enough space for both to exist and have success.”

The proposed short term rentals bylaw goes to Lambton Shores council later this month. Pending approval, it won’t take effect until next year, as many properties have already been rented out for this summer under existing rules.

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