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Burlington wins right to block access to this Airbnb party mansion

Posted: February 6, 2020

An Ontario Superior Court has granted Burlington a permanent injunction allowing the city to block access by whatever “means necessary and reasonable” to a Lakeshore Road mansion that neighbours complained was functioning as an event venue.

The city took the matter to court in December, after residents in the otherwise quiet community said revellers attending parties and weddings at 4319 Lakeshore Rd., were blasting music, blocking their streets with cars, trespassing on their gardens to take photographs and even urinating and defecating on their properties.

The Jan. 23 ruling gives Burlington the right to use “barricades or vehicles to block or restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Rd.,” near Walker’s Line. The Halton Region sheriff is authorized to use “such force and assistance required in the circumstances,” to prevent the property from being used for commercial purposes, said the court.

Property owners Sohebur Rehman Scheikh and Sadia Soheb were also ordered to pay $9,500 in court costs.

The 8,000-square-foot, five-bedroom mansion is advertised on Airbnb for $1,200 a night. The listing says it is suitable for corporate stays, photoshoots, filming and music videos but it says parties are prohibited.

It says the property is being rented by AMG-Luxe of Miami, Fla. In September, a neighbour, Isabelle Rae, who complained about the activity at the waterfront house, received a reply from an Airbnb “superhost” called Daud. He invited her to notify him when events were disturbing neighbours but she told the Star that nothing changed after that.

Another neighbour, Mary Alice St. James, said she isn’t entirely against Airbnb but the big events at the mansion made her fear for community safety and she said some elderly residents were afraid of speaking out for fear of retribution.

“I think we’re all in this together,” she said. “It takes a community.”

As a retired school principal, St. James said she also had community safety concerns based on her experience with house parties going wrong.

“Teenagers don’t always make the best decisions” she said, adding that the property is still being rented. She cited a Jan. 16 video shoot that had bright lights blazing overnight.

Burlington’s director of building and bylaw said the city will act when homes are used for commercial purposes such as banquets that violate the zoning provisions.

Nick Anastasopoulos said in a press release those uses have “severe impact on residents and their neighbourhoods and it’s our responsibility to prevent that from occurring.”

Burlington staff are expected to report on short-term rental regulations by the end of the second quarter of this year.