Muskoka Lakes considers short-term rental restrictions – South Muskoka Doppler – South Muskoka Doppler

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The Township of Muskoka Lakes appears poised to become the next area municipality to crack down on short-term rentals (STR).

On Feb. 13, the Township will host a public meeting to discuss the regulation of Short Term Rental Accommodations.

Similar regulations have come into effect in multiple Muskoka municipalities, including Bracebridge and Gravenhurst, in the wake of public concerns.

In May, 2023, the Township launched a public survey wherein 74% of 488 respondents indicated that STR activity has a negative impact on their property. Some 70% wish to see the Township impose regulations, with 41% favouring the creation of a Short Term Rental Licensing By-law to regulate STRs going forward.

According to a Township report. community concerns fall into two broad categories. The first is behavioural concerns and resulting impacts on the peaceful enjoyment of surrounding properties, and the second is environmental concerns primarily surrounding servicing capacity.

In November 2023, the Draft Short Term Rental Accommodation By-Law was presented to Muskoka Lakes Planning Committee.

Notable highlights of the draft by-law include:

1. Occupancy limitations in the form of 2 people per bedroom with the ability to further restrict

maximum occupancy if a sewage disposal system is not of adequate size;

2. Some licensing requirements will include the production of a Fire Safety Plan, complete site

map of the property with all buildings and landscape features shown, and the inclusion of

photographs of the property;

3. A requirement for a Responsible Person to attend and deal with issues within an hour of

being notified by the Township or an agent of the Township;

4. A requirement for operators to ensure each rental group is provided an information package

which will include the Renters Code of Conduct, common offences of Township By-laws and

associated penalties, as well as information on boating safety and emergency services

information; and

5. A complete demerit point system and significant penalties (in the form of Administrative

Monetary Penalties).

You can view the entire draft bylaw here.

The public meeting begins at 9 am at the Municipal Office, 1 Bailey Street, Port Carling.

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