Toronto scales up efforts to enforce rules for short-term rentals like Airbnbs

Mar 16 2022, 4:15 pm

The Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) department said that it’s working hard to ensure that hosts of short-term rentals like Airbnbs are following licensing rules. Operators not following the rules could face $1,000 in fines or worse.

MLS executive director Carleton Grant told Daily Hive that they’ve recently applied various techniques to find properties that don’t follow city bylaws.

“We have two licensed companies — Airbnb and — and if we have problematic properties with people not following the rules, we work with platforms to delist them,” he said.

Grant said that they’ve started “data discovery techniques” like audits. They’ve also been looking at various websites, message boards, and advertisements to find short-term rentals that aren’t following the rules. Penalties can range from a fine of $1,000 and above.

So what are the most common complaints that come in through 311? Not surprisingly, house parties.

“That is one we’ve been able to deal with both ourselves, with the police or with the platforms themselves because that’s not the intent of short-term rentals,” said Grant.

Pre-pandemic, Toronto had around 15,000 registered short-term rentals; now it’s down to 4,500.

When asked if he foresees more complaints as COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen, Grant said it’s too early to tell. He said that it depends on whether people feel comfortable travelling or having people in their homes.

“There’s a whole host of things that COVID-19 has brought on that I believe is impacting the numbers and the space,” he said.

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