LETTER: Carriage houses, secondary suites used for short-term rentals

In Summerland there are more than 213 short stay properties on Airbnb and more than 300 on VRBO

Dear Editor:

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.

READ ALSO: Complaints raised about carriage house

READ ALSO: Summerland council to revisit carriage house bylaw

Currently in Summerland there are more than 213 short stay rental properties on Airbnb and more than 300 on VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner.)

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 on 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.

READ ALSO: Summerland issues 12 building permits in July

Perhaps the district can implement an initiative to map out where these short term rentals are located to assist the bylaw officer with any issues that may arise from neighbouring houses. 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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