Spoiling neighbours' peace

The District of Summerland has allowed and encouraged the building of carriage houses in residential neighbourhoods to attempt to help increase rental accommodations, and as mortgage helpers for owners.

My understanding is that council and staff's goal was to increase long-term rental availability to encourage families and workers to live and work in Summerland.

However, in reality, a vast majority of accessory buildings, carriage houses and secondary suites are being marketed as short-term rentals. Currently in Summerland, there are over 213 short-stay rental properties on Airbnb and 300-plus on VRBO.

Council and staff may not know where all these short-term rentals are located and don’t necessarily experience how detrimental it is to the surrounding neighbours, with the additional late night noise, messy decks and additional street parking.

The initiative to increase long-term rental property is to be commended. However, if you live next to a short-term rental property (which I do) that hosts noisy renters with barking dogs, who are either unaware of the bylaws or don’t care, it disturbs the peace and quiet of the permanent residents, and takes away the enjoyment and comfort of the neighbourhood. 

Perhaps the district can implement an initiative to map out where these short-term rentals are located to assist bylaw staff with any issues that may arise. Also, perhaps issuing guidelines for rental property owners on bylaws such as noise levels, barking dogs, etc. would reduce the number of complaints from surrounding residents.

Diana Smith, Summerland

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