As a city dependent on tourism, Toronto city officials realize that Airbnb users bring over $4 million of revenue to city neighborhoods, but worry about the impact that shortterm rentals have on neighborhoods. Transient populations can bring noise, crime, parking problems, and other destabilizing influences. Proposed legislation develops a mechanism to monitor rentals on Airbnb and similar services.
New Laws To Monitor Rentals Could Curtail Commercial Rentals
The goal of the legislation is limit rentals to primary residences and discourage investors from buying property to rent out on the short term market. The law would legalize about 7,600 properties while taking another 3,200 off the market so the property could be repurposed into permanent housing and protect neighborhoods. Part of the reason for concern is that commercial investors are getting into the act and buying up properties that should be in the traditional leasing market.
According to Thorben Wieditz, representative of Fairbnb, a coalition of hotel workers and housing advocates, “Thirteen per cent of hosts actually generate close to 40 per cent of the revenue for Airbnb, so there is a growing concentration of commercial hosts [in Toronto].” This impacts affordable housing. He hopes that laws will monitor the platforms such as Airbnb, so they monitor their listings and enforce city regulations.
The new law is modeled after one enacted in Québec in 2016. Under that law, individuals could rent out accommodations for no more than 31 consecutive days and pay hotel tax. Violators might be liable for fines that range between $2,500 and $25,000 per day, while corporations could be assessed fines double that. That law, however, is largely ignored.
Airbnb is supportive of efforts in Toronto and throughout Canada to regulate the market and discourage more domination by commercial hosts.