Town of Innisfil looks to address concerns around short-term rentals like Airbnb amid physical distancing

The bylaw office has received complaints about loud groups coming and going in a small community

COVID-19 can’t stop the party — which is bad news for some Innisfil residents.

Lu Koza, one of the residents in the area, describes the area as “a little pocket of nothing. You know, it’s four blocks.”

Several complaints were submitted to the Innisfil bylaw office concerning an Airbnb which has become host to several groups of more than five. Residents say groups have been booking nights at the home and throwing parties which have been disturbing the lives of those in the community.

“This is a small subdivision of 45 homes” Koza said. “More than 50% of us are seniors. They’ve had 15 people come through since February. I went on the Airbnb website today and tried to book a weekend myself. I cannot get one and they are booked solid for the month of April.”

Many of these groups who have rented out the property can be heard partying at all hours of the night. After one group leaves, Koza says that another arrives soon after.

“We believe at one point it was like a bachelor party of some sort and they were all drunk and trying to take over the beach,” she said. “That’s why we all got together and went to Council.”

In the midst of COVID-19 concerns and physical distancing regulations, community members call on the municipality to address this. In a community where many high-risk individuals reside, the continued exposure caused by an influx of tourists is of high concern.

“People are supposed to stay home during the pandemic, but they’re not. And we want to know what they’re going to do about it. Because I saw on the news today they’re charging people who are not social distancing. And I thought there was non-essential travel ban implemented right now, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.”

While no solutions have been decided on, town council is currently discussing the best way to address this issue.