City of Vernon seeking legal action against short-term rental 'party house' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon News

City of Vernon seeking legal action against short-term rental 'party house'

Vernon City Hall

The City of Vernon is attempting to stop an ongoing short-term rental 'party house' by pursuing legal action.

The city is seeking a statutory injunction to address ongoing issues for neighbouring residents since 2019, according to the city's press release. The owners do not live at the property, which is being used as a short-term rental.

In a lawsuit filed in June with the Supreme Court of B.C., the city alleges owners Michael Nohr and Andrea Carolina Amado Castillo, who live in Vancouver, are in direct contravention to city bylaws as the house is being used as a short-term rental at their property at 7429 Sun Peaks Drive.

The property is advertised as a vacation rental under the name “LUXURY BBQ/HTub/Views for a Relaxing Getaway" and is an upscale four-bedroom, three-bathroom single family house, according to court documents.

"Despite receiving multiple warnings and violation tickets for nuisance, noise complaints and unlawful land use, the owners of the property have continued to rent the house out to various guests who have used the property to hold large, loud gatherings that have been disruptive to the neighbourhood on a regular basis, often late into the night," according to the city’s press release.

Mayor Victor Cumming said in the press release that this property is "not the norm" in Vernon and many short-term rentals in the city are being used respectfully with few issues.

“However, the ongoing activity at this one property – by numerous renters and visitors – has been extremely disappointing. Myself and council fully appreciate that the neighbouring residents have been frustrated about this property for a long time. Seeking a court injunction to cease the (short-term rental) operation was not a decision made lightly, but it was time we put our foot down to stop this unacceptable behaviour,” he said.

Since 2019, bylaw officers have attended more than 50 complaints about the property and have written more than 25 violation tickets. The next most reported short-term rental property in the city only has four or five complaints, in that same timeframe.

Over the last year, city staff have been developing short-term rental regulation policy recommendations. The work is ongoing and there are many considerations going in to the recommendations, accounting for the needs and desires the City has heard from residents, property owners, local business operators, and visitors. Once completed, the policy will provide a framework for everyone to understand the local expectations of these activities in residential neighbourhoods, and to provide appropriate tools for regulation enforcement.

“Vernon is proud to be a family-oriented community where people choose to live, work, explore and play,” said Mayor Cumming. “The City aims to foster an environment where residents feel safe and comfortable at home, being part of a community where citizens and visitors show respect and kind regard for one another. And that is the norm in our great community.”

The city will not comment further on the matter as it is now before the courts, according to the city.

The city is seeking a declaration that Nohr and Castillo have each breached the zoning bylaw and to cease operating the business as well as punitive damages and costs.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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