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Kingston thinks it’s time for landlords to pay up for student parties

The City of Kingston is looking to recuperate some of the costs it expects to face on future student street parties, and now city council is looking at whether property owners should be held responsible when a “nuisance party” happens on their property.

In outlining their reasons for potential changes, city officials cited the $970,000 cost incurred by Kingston Police to respond to nuisance parties and an additional $83,000 incurred by the City of Kingston by-law staff. The report says that the $350,000 contribution from Queen’s partially offsets this.

While owners could previously be charged, they were required to be given a written warning first and could only be charged if it happened at the same location within two years.

“The Nuisance Party By-Law has now been in effect for almost four years. In that time, information has been made available to property owners regarding steps they can take to mitigate nuisance behaviours from occurring on their property,” wrote Craig Desjardins, Acting Commissioner, Corporate Services in a report to next weeks council.

 “Accordingly, it is now appropriate to remove the provisions from the Nuisance Party By-Law that require the City to deliver a warning notice to owners after the occurrence of a nuisance party.”

If the by-law amendments go forward, property owners could be on the hook for nuisance parties at the rate of $90 per officer per hour. City officials say that this cost is based on “an average hourly rate for staff costs inclusive of benefits, an hourly vehicle rate, and a 10% administrative overhead charge.”

The city has also proposed adding a new offense for facilitating a street party.

When convicted, those charged would initially face a fine of up to 10,000. The second offense could see a fine up to 50,000 and the third offense could see a fine up to 100,000.  

The Kingston Rental Property Owners Association has spoken out against the proposed amendments. “Having the lease contain [a provision] for no parties, which the bulk of our membership have, does not allow us to physically remove any tenant. Any clause in a lease that prohibited ‘large’ parties, or indeed any parties is likely not enforceable. So bylaw would be holding landlords accountable for something over which they have absolutely no authority,” wrote Robert Melo to Global News Kingston on Thursday.

The amendment is expected to be discussed at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

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