The rental housing crisis in Toronto has put the spotlight on short term rentals like Airbnb, which have removed thousands of units from the stock of long term rental properties in the city. Rental units are in critically short supply, and so there has been an outcry from housing advocates calling for restrictions on Airbnb.
Regulations for short term rentals in Toronto were approved by city council at the start of 2018, but were appealed before they could be put in place. A delay in the appeal process last year put off the hearing until this week. The new rules would restrict short term rentals to the owner’s principal residence, and would require rentals to register with the city and pay a 4% “municipal accomodation tax”.
Many owners of rental properties are outraged at the new rules, as Airbnb rentals are often much more profitable than long term rentals. Opponents don’t like the disruption caused by short term rentals, such as noise, wild parties, etc. It’s a classic case of owners’ property rights vs collective ‘rights’.
In condo apartment buildings, short term rentals can be especially disruptive to residents in adjoining units, and many condo corporations have instituted rules against them. These rules have proved hard to enforce, however, and so municipal regulations will be welcomed by these buildings.
The hearings are scheduled to last one week, but given the highly contentious nature of the topic, my guess is that they will be extended and/or further appealed. Expect lots of fireworks.