Kingsville Suffers Housing Shortage As Council Fails To Regulate STRs

Like many communities across this country, Kingsville is dealing with an acute shortage of affordable housing available for sale or long term rental which has been brought about, in part, by the proliferation of short term rentals “STR’s” (usually defined as properties renting for a period of 28 or 29 days or less).

This issue has caught the attention of the Canadian Federal Government which is offering an array of financial incentives in an effort to jump start new housing construction as outlined in a recently released paper by the Finance Department. Some Provinces (ie. Quebec and BC) and some municipalities (ie. Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver) have taken steps to restrict the use of residential properties as dedicated STR’s and the federal government is supporting that work.

To support the work of communities trying to limit the use of residential properties for STR purposes, the 2023 Fall Economic Statement of the federal government announced its intention, commencing on or after January 1, 2024 in provinces or municipalities that have prohibited STR’s, “to deny income tax deductions for expenses incurred to earn short-term rental income, including interest expenses.”

Further, STR operators who are not in compliance with “applicable provincial or municipal licensing, permitting or registration requirements” also will be denied income tax deductions. These penalties relating to the issue of non-compliant STR owners/operators will not apply to the Town of Kingsville since our local Council has not seen fit to deal with the issue of regulating STR’s; apparently tourism trumps the wishes of local taxpayers.

Perhaps in their efforts to promote tourism, Council is failing to recognize that although tourist dollars are welcomed by local businesses, it is the people who live here year round who support the restaurants, pubs and other business ventures in this community.

Residents have tried to bring the urgency of this issue to the attention of Council through presentations they were invited to make, not only to have not a single question asked by any member of Council but also to have any discussion or questions from the large audience in attendance blocked. These are things to remember when it comes time to elect the next Town Council.

In the Province of Ontario, regulation of STR’s has been left to be dealt with by individual municipalities. In Essex County, for example, bylaws regulating STR’s have been enacted in Windsor, Amherstburg and Essex.

In the Town of Essex, with a STR license, hosted STR’s only are allowed in residential areas, perhaps because STR’s owned and operated by persons living in that same residence do not usually pose a problem for their neighbours. The Town has Essex wisely limited licenses for non owner occupied  STR’s to commercial areas only.

Lakeshore, on the other hand, voted to ban STR’s entirely after finding that over 150 families (more than 400 local residents) had been pushed out by investors. As one resident put it, “We have local families and retirees no longer able to find housing in the community they called home all of their lives.”

At this time, a local group is working on mapping STR’s located in Kingsville because the Town has made no effort to do so; to date, over 100 short-term rentals have been identified. How many of our lifelong local residents have been displaced as a result? Young people who grew up in Kingsville cannot afford to purchase homes here.

The Town recently posted a Survey about short term rentals online which can be found at https://haveyoursaykingsville.ca/short-term-rental-str-survey. Apparently, if not many respond, Council once more will put this issue on the back burner.

How many senior citizens  are actively engaged in online platforms and therefore aware of, much less able to access, that survey? Were Town Council actually interested in your opinions on regulation of short- term rentals, they would hold a town hall meeting after first widely advertising it; they would take the time to demonstrate an interest in the views of its taxpayers.  No such initiative has been undertaken.

The elderly population of Kingsville has increased as retirees from other cities move here; the cost of most homes that are available for sale are well beyond the financial reach of young people who would like to live and raise young families here. Can your children afford $899,000.00 to purchase a home?

Recently, a Petition urging Council to regulate short-term rentals has been posted on Facebook and on Change.org in an effort to get Council to move on this issue NOW.  Please support this effort by signing the Petition online or when canvassed and including your address and telephone number. Surely as residents and taxpayers of this lovely community we should have a say before it is too late!

Click here to sign our Change.org petition

~ Anne Sorensen

Image by Andrea Davis from Pexels


  1. Karen MacDougall

    Great article….just getting to read this today…as I am am researching a bit about what other communities are doing to address this ….I also live on a street where 2 STRs have popped up…and it is not pleasant!

  2. This is an important article that will only increase in tragic significance if nothing is done by council. It’s hard to understand why council in Kingsville continues to do nothing when so many surrounding towns and cities have restrictions in place.

  3. Emily Acheson

    Well written, Anne. Definitely going to forward this to others. We’re tired of our neighbourhoods serving as hotel districts. Who is protecting Kingsville citizens’ rights?

  4. Kevin McWilliams

    Bracebridge Ontario now has comprehensive bylaws covering STR’s. Including an annual licence fee of $1500.00. Council has missed the mark once again.

  5. There are not many comments because few people are on this website. Poor way to do business.

  6. We have met the Mayor and council on this issue twice. Last meeting it was promised that STRUs would be dealt with in long range plans September 2023. Nothing has been done.
    We had a one million dollar cottage purchased two doors from us recently. Early on in casual conversation with the owners I was told they were going to move in. They were obviously lying to us. I was also told the owner”s wife had three or four STRUs in town. The first event was to celebrate the owner’s birthday. There twenty nine cars parked on the property, around the property and in the farmers field. They had been grooming the farmer’s property since taking possession. Farmer informed them they were trespassing. They continue to groom the property as if they own it to this day. On another occasion a large group of young women were weekend guests. Swimming, with loud music, loud voices and even visited a neighbour’s beach two lots away to swim topless. When told they were trespassing their reply was “we’re from Toronto and we don’t know how it works here.” They were told private means the same here. Our mayor and CEO seem unconcerned that our private laneway and small community of nine homes owned by retirees on the lake has one and soon a second VRBO. Not only does this ruin the neighbourhood it devalues our properties. Asking a real estate agent how this would affect my property value her reply was “don’t list it on a Friday”. Our town’s mayor seems more interested in tourism than representing the citizens who elected him.. We’ve had enough !!!

  7. Marian Reffle

    Great article Anne! You make so many valid points of concern, especially the lack of affordable housing in our community with many homes taken out of the market by short term rentals.

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