South Glengarry won’t regulate, tax short-term rentals

(Newswatch Group/File)

LANCASTER – South Glengarry won’t regulate short-term rentals, like Airbnbs, and it won’t be hitting tourists with a tax.

Council rejected the idea of regulation and turned down the idea of slapping those rentals with a 4 per cent municipal accommodation tax (MAT), which would be paid by renters, collected by homeowners and then remitted to the township.

“I personally have no interest in pursuing this at all,” Coun. Sam McDonell said. “We have no real goal for what we want to do with the taxes and there’s no real way specifically to put it into where it’s coming from (tourism).”

McDonell believes people would just pull their listings off Airbnb and rent them privately.

“I have no desire in this,” Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden added. “I feel that the cost and the energy that it would take to implement this sort of thing would outweigh the return.”

“Why are we wanting to go out and tax people anymore?” Coun. Martin Lang asked rhetorically. He suggested this only came from “one person who brought something to council, not sure they like what their neighbour was doing.”

Residents Stephanie St. Denis Kasper and Jason Kasper from Westley’s Point complained to council in May saying short-term rentals would likely become a nuisance if they weren’t regulated.

“We had never received a complaint that was specific to a short-term rental,” Planning Director Joanne Haley told council Monday (June 7) on her department review of all complaints.

There are approximately 15 short-term rentals in South Glengarry and possibly more that didn’t come up in municipal research.

In neighbouring Cornwall, the City of Cornwall does collect the 4 per cent municipal accommodation tax (MAT).