At Monday’s Council meeting, concerns about Airbnb rentals were raised by correspondence from Cobourg resident Anne-Marie Jackson; she complained about problems from an Airbnb establishment on Blake Street (which is within walking distance of Downtown). Anne-Marie said that “We have seen a notable increase in transient visitors, an increase in on-street parking – often 4-5 vehicles at a time – parties with loud and disruptive guests, documented drug and criminal activity, and as a result, increased police activity. Further “During documented criminal activity, drug activity and noise complaints where police were called, residents have made attempts to contact (the owner) to address their concerns through the Airbnb ‘Contact Your Neighbour’ portal, but the attempts have gone unanswered. Complaints submitted to Airbnb, are not addressed for 24-48 hours, if at all.”
As a result, Council asked for input from Planning Director Glenn McGlashon. He suggested that the first step would be a review of the zoning by-Laws but also that enforcing zoning violations would be difficult – Glenn called it a “cumbersome tool”. He recommended that the Town also create regulations to govern such establishments by Licensing – Glenn called it “a really powerful tool”. Other towns have already done this – notably Oshawa and Toronto (see links below). This would generate revenue plus would be a powerful tool for enforcement although it might require extra enforcement staff. Glenn estimated that there could be about 50 establishments in Cobourg. In the end, Glenn agreed that regulating did not depend on zoning or modification of the zoning by-Law.
Council then approved the following motion:
That Council receive the correspondence from Anne-Marie Jackson for information purposes
And further that Council refer the matter of Airbnb regulations and enforcement to Planning staff to consider as part of the Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Review process; and
FURTHER THAT Council receive a Staff Report on Airbnb’s and the potential of the creation of a licensing By-law for the regulation of Airbnb’s in the Town of Cobourg at the November 15 Committee of the Whole Meeting.
The timing would mean that consideration of licensing would be in place for the 2022 budget.
- Letter from Anne-Marie Jackson – redacted by Town staff.
- Oshawa Airbnb (Short term Rental) Licensing page
- Toronto Short Term Rentals