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City council votes to regulate short term rentals like Airbnb

Last Updated Dec 7, 2017 at 7:42 pm EDT

Airbnb sign

Toronto city council has passed a long list of regulations and controls on short-term rentals, like Airbnb.

The new regulations prohibit residents from listing any secondary suite other than their primary residence as a short term rental. The regulations also cap the number of nights in a calendar year in which a full unit can be rented at 180 days, or about six months.

Secondary suites are units that have their own bathrooms and kitchen facilities — so renting out a basement apartment for a few nights a week, isn’t allowed. Residents will only be allowed to rent rooms out of the home that they live in, their primary residence.

One of the arguments is that short term rentals contribute to an already growing problem of shortages and affordability when it comes to finding a home.

” We have a rental housing crisis in this city where we need 16 thousand new rental housing units just to make our rental housing affordable the risk of losing a single unit is not worth the potential gain of a few bucks for a property owner,” said Councillor Joe Cressy.

“Homeowners who are sharing their secondary suites now on our platform, are sharing the space for typically three months of the year. Those are units that are never going to go back on the long term rental market. They are being used by the families. That’s what this is about. So a city saying now we can’t use that causes harm to families who are trying to make ends meet and trying to live here in the City and that’s what’s also being talked about and is really important for the cit to consider today,” said Alex Dagg, Manager of Public Policy at Airbnb Canada.

The regulations mean anyone choosing to rent out rooms or their entire home on a short term rental website or online would need to be registered with the city and pay an annual fee of 50 dollars. Short-term accommodations companies , like Airbnb, would have to pay the city a licensing fee of $1 for each night booked on their platform as well as a one-time registration fee of $5,000.