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Sep. 22, 2020 | Tuesday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Don't let Airbnbs overrun NOTL
Letter

Dear editor:

Re: Bill Garriock's opinion piece, "Short-term rentals are residences without residents," The Lake Report, Aug. 20:

Coincidentally, I recorded a program on TVO over the weekend – "Airbnb: Dream or Nightmare."  It was mainly located in the U.K. but I'm sure the same things are happening everywhere – the most disgusting messes and destruction of property I have ever seen, resulting in costly repairs, cleaning and lawsuits, which were almost impossible due to loopholes in agreements.

Apparently, there are more than 80,000 Airbnb properties there, 39,000 in London alone. In multiple-family buildings such as apartments or flats, the people have no idea who is sharing their space or where to lodge complaints. 

Also, people are buying council homes to use as Airbnbs. The program noted that it is illegal to sublet a council property since they are provided for people in need. Therefore, they now must employ many people as inspectors to patrol these areas and try to determine if the law is being broken. 

I think it would be disastrous if Niagara-on-the-Lake becomes an Airbnb destination. My own interest in this results from our own experience in deciding to retire here and my hope to do something different after almost 40 years of going to the office. 

We built our home and operated Linden House B&B successfully for more than 20 years. In that time we made many friends and enjoyed about 75 per cent returning guests with only three whom we would not have back. 

I feel this success is because the Town of NOTL licences B&Bs and requires the owner/host to be on-site – and this is what is missing from Airbnb. I hope the town will take action sooner rather than later to prevent the disastrous results we see in many countries. 

Elaine Landray

NOTL

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