City committee to propose new regulations for Airbnb hosts in Toronto

Jun 12 2017, 9:42 pm

The City of Toronto will be looking at new recommendations on how to work with short-term rentals.

In its attempt to work with companies like Airbnb, the City’s Municipal Licensing & Standards committee has made several recommendations for City staff after months of consultations with stake holders and the public.

According to City report, the number of Airbnb listings in Toronto has tripled between 2014 and 2016, with 15,869 listings and over 10,000 properties rented in 2016. Within those rentals, 65% were listings for the entire unit, while 35% were for a room within a unit.

“While it is difficult to determine a precise number, based on the information provided by Airbnb, staff estimate that approximately 3,200 properties rented in 2016 were not principal residences,” reads the report. “This is based on a survey of hosts done by Airbnb that found that 77% rent their own home or their secondary suite.”

And, if these new recommendations pass, these numbers will soon be changing.

The proposed regulation recommendations to short-term rentals in the city include:

• Amending the City’s zoning bylaws to create a new land use called “short-term rental” that is permitted in principal residences across the city;
• Prohibiting short-term rentals that are not in a person’s principal residence;
• Licensing companies that facilitate short-term rental activity, like Airbnb; and
• Creating a registry for anyone who operates a short-term rental in their home.

The report states that the restrictions limits long-term housing from being converted to accommodation for tourists, which in turn reduces affordable accommodation in the city.

Among the recommendations, companies like Airbnb would be required to work with the City and report quarterly data, and would be required to share details about listings upon the City’s request. A licensing fee will also be imposed on the company, and operators of rental units will be subjected to a registration fee.

Plenty of options on Airbnb in Toronto/Airbnb screenshot

Further, the City might be tacking on a 10% short-term rental tax, which is 6% higher than hotels in Toronto.

The City will continue seeking public input for these recommendations during the third quarter of 2017. The earliest these recommendations can be applied would be in the fall, due to Council’s meeting schedule.

After July’s meeting, council’s next scheduled meeting is in October.

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