Antigonish council passes bylaw to restrict number of rental rooms in a home

The Town of Antigonish, N.S., is trying to crack down on landlords who rent out several rooms in a home.

At a council meeting on Monday night, the elected members voted unanimously to limit the number of rooms landlords can rent to four, but there are some exceptions.

“Over the last few years, we’ve been getting quite a few complaints from our residents,” said Mayor Laurie Boucher.

“We were asked by the community to try to do something about it. And what we decided on as a council is, ‘Can we limit the number of rooms that are being rented?'”

The answer is both yes and no.

The new lodging home bylaw only applies to new home or “lodging” construction. Landlords who already own homes and rent out to multiple tenants will be unaffected.

Some buildings will be grandfathered

There are more than 90 old Victorian-style homes, with multiple units inside, in the downtown area of Antigonish that will be “grandfathered in,” or listed as legal/non-conforming.

Boucher said those landlords will continue to be allowed to rent as they choose, but the new bylaw will require they be registered with the town, which will trigger a fire and safety inspection.

Boucher said that should address the concerns of students who have complained in the past of living in unsafe buildings.

Balancing concerns

As for neighbours who complain about party houses, Boucher said council is trying to balance their concerns with those of landlords and students.

“Being a university town, we absolutely need places and residents for our students to live. In September, our population doubles in size,” she said.

“But it’s our due diligence to make sure that people in our community are safe and that people have the right to live in their homes and communities without being disturbed.

“We have two bylaw officers that are very knowledgeable within the town and know what’s going on.”

Boucher said the town is working on an education campaign for students to remind them of the existing noise bylaw.

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