City of Burlington wins court battle to shut down ‘commercial party house’

The city of Burlington says a court awarded it a 'permanent Injunction" against homeowners using a residential property near Lakeshore Road for party rentals. Nick Westoll / Global News

The City of Burlington says it’s won a permanent injunction against homeowners operating a so-called “commercial party house” near Paletta Lakefront Park.

In a release on Tuesday, city staff said the house in question has generated “numerous complaints” from residents in the Lakeshore Road and Goodram Drive area over the last year.

The city says the property at one point was registered with Airbnb as a host site for parties, weddings and other events, which neighbours said caused “great amounts of stress.”

In September, Mary Alice St. James, who is a spokesperson for a group called Active Community Teamwork (ACT), representing a number of residents near the park, came before city council to share stories of Airbnb renters leaving garbage on neighbouring lawns and using up nearby parking spaces.

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“We are tired of having other people’s debris on our lawns almost every day,” said St. James.

“I am personally tired of picking up — and this isn’t in his script — used condoms. I do not get paid enough.”

St. James’ plea on behalf of the affected residents got some temporary relief in November when AirBNB banned the “party house” for 90 days.

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The new court order permanently prohibits use of the residential property for commercial purposes in violation of Burlington’s zoning bylaw.

“Residents can rest assured that the City will act when homeowners use their residences for commercial purposes such as banquets and other events that are not permitted under the City’s Zoning By-Law,” said Nick Anastasopoulos, the city’s building and bylaw director.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward told Global News that currently, Burlington doesn’t have any licensing laws for Airbnb rentals but it is something the city is looking at as a result of this experience.

“So we need some sort of interim stages to deal with this,” said Ward, “Licensing would be one, telling folks exactly where they can or can’t have an Airbnb, and regulations. And that’s for public safety.”

In the court decision, the city also received $9,500 to be paid by the owner of the house in question.

The order is subject to a 30-day appeal period.

Click to play video: '30 arrested at Surrey Airbnb party'
30 arrested at Surrey Airbnb party

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