With the arrival of Spring, more TBL citizens are complaining about nuisances, mostly noise such as shouting and loud music late at night, caused by weekend renters. Sometimes a friendly reminder by a neighbour will suffice. But on most occasions, the renters, different ones every week, will just ignore the warning. They will also ignore the warning of police officers called in by the neighbours.
TBL’s bylaw 615 on Peace, Order and Nuisances sets a precise time when noise becomes a nuisance – between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. It also sets fines, for those who ignore it, from $150 to $1,000 for a first infraction by a person and up to $2,000 for a repeat infraction. It gets difficult to impose such fines on tenants who will be gone in two days.
At the last public meeting of council, Mayor Richard Burcombe assured citizens that Council is aware of the problem. A letter was sent to the owner of a property. In an interview with Tempo, the mayor said that the municipality can only do so much because it cannot adopt a bylaw to deal with a problem unless it is also adopted by the other member-municipalities of the MRC, or the SQ would not enforce it. One can surmise that if TBL had its own police force, it would be duty bound to enforce TBL’s specific bylaws.
Some towns have tried to restrict the activities of Web rental platforms. In 2012, the municipality of Sutton adopted a short-term rental policy. The policy, not a bylaw, is not meant to deal with nuisances, but it did provide the administration with a clearer picture of the issue. The policy limits personal home rentals to 60 days a year and owners need to have proper permits from Quebec and the town to rent their properties.
“For the owners, it means their right to short-term rental are better protected,’’ says Alexandre Primeau, Sutton’s Chief Inspector who hopes the policy becomes a bylaw. If steeper fines were imposed on noisy tenants, the SQ would be more likely to use them and it would have a real impact, according to Primeau.