Toronto’s proposed Airbnb restrictions delayed

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Toronto’s city council passed rules back in December that would make it harder for owners to rent out properties for short-term home rentals but that seems to be unlikely for the next few months. The new rules were to take effect June 1.

The city was plagued by challenges by four short-term rental hosts at what was formerly the Ontario Municipal Board, based on city rezoning required to enact Toronto’s new licensing rules, are now set to be heard August 30 and 31.

The city can still act on complaints against short-term rental owners that aren’t licensed as hotels, but the new bylaw won’t be implemented.

If the late August hearing proceeds, and the tribunal issues a decision, the city would likely then give all parties time before transitioning to the rules.

Municipalities in the GTA and across many Canadian cities have been struggling with the idea of how best to regulate Airbnb and deal with the slew of complaints that have come from neighbours who have complained about “ghost hotels” and noisy parties.

But worse for city planners and politicians is the impact these short-term rentals have when it comes to affordable housing stock especially in Toronto.

Airbnb, says that about 700 of its 10,000-plus Toronto “hosts” rented out secondary suites that would be illegal under the new bylaw. Other companies and individuals own many other units that would also become illegal.

Once these bylaws come into effect Airbnb would be obliged to delist any units that would then be deemed illegal.

While on one hand Toronto like most world-class cities must embrace new technology and things like Airbnb which have come in its wake, on the other hand it must ensure that its rules protect neighbours and neighbourhoods from becoming communities dominated by short-term rental units.

Many real estate investors have either converted their rental units into Airbnbs because it makes financial sense. On the other hand, it is making it harder for long-term renters to find any housing, leave alone affordable housing. – CINEWS

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