A bylaw is a bylaw 

The Town of Brome Lake just adopted bylaw 599-4 on short-term rental (less than 31 days) on its territory. Before renting your property for tourist purposes or for short periods, you must have the necessary permits from Quebec and the town and, in the case of a secondary residence, it must be located in one of the 17 zones designated for this. 

Of the 850 secondary residences listed in Brome Lake, there are 24 that only have a permit from Quebec and which, moreover, are not in the designated areas. Under bylaw 599-4, these residences can no longer be rented to tourists for a weekend, for example. However, the town maintains that the vast majority of these cases do not cause any nuisance. Why not tolerate them? But then why pass a bylaw that will not be applied to these residences? 

Another option would be to remove these residences’ right to renew their provincial rental license and not grant them a town permit. This would respect the spirit and the letter of the bylaw but would not make happy soldiers among those who have rented their second home for years. 

The town could also pass another bylaw to create an exception for these 24 landlords and allow them to continue short-term rental. Again, why then adopt 599-4? 

If the primary goal of this new bylaw was to minimize the nuisance caused by some of these tenants who come to party for a few days, the goal has not been achieved. 

Any derogation from the application of the bylaw, although it is allowed, would weaken it and open the door to other requests for exceptions. 

This saga leads us to ask another even more fundamental question. If the police services in Brome Lake were to respond more effectively to the needs of the population, as is the case in Bromont, for example, which almost completely prohibits short-term rentals on its territory – and enforces it – would we be wondering how to enforce an essentially anti-nuisance regulation?