Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver acquiring $430 million in collective revenue in 2016 — a 55 per cent increase over 2015.
The prospect of a small number of hosts owning multiple properties and motivated by large profits can be problematic, Wieditz explained.
“This concentration of Airbnb inventory in fewer and fewer hands, so to speak, is what causes a lot of the disruptions in the city,” Wieditz said.
“It is what causes the problems in the rental market, in terms of the availability of units, but also that’s what causes a lot of the disruptions in neighbourhoods where you end up with party houses.”
Post City previously reported in August on a multi-listing Airbnb host in midtown Toronto who has garnered complaints from local resident Lisa Sabato about a number of issues from neighbourhood stability and affordability to loud late-night parties.
In addition to creating problematic “party houses,” Airbnbs are consuming muchneeded property downtown.
According to a 2017 report by Ryerson City Building Institute and Evergreen, the vacancy rate in downtown Toronto is around 1.4 per cent, far below the healthy rate of three per cent. Seventy per cent of commercial Airbnb listings are located in 10 downtown neighbourhoods — according to AirDNA, a website that compiles data on Airbnb — compounding the vacancy issue.
However, there appears to be little incentive for landlords to place their property on the longterm market. A full-time host only needs to rent a unit for half a year to make what a traditional landlord would make in a year on the long-term market, according to AirDNA.
As well, Airbnb landlords are able to skirt regulations such as the Residential Tenancies Act and hotel industry regulations.
“People can make a lot more money in an unregulated shadow economy where their money is not being tracked,” said Wieditz.
The Ryerson report states that Toronto needs at least 8,000 new rental units per year to get to a healthy vacancy rate.
If city regulations are enforced, the report estimates that 3,200 short-term rental properties would not meet the regulations and thus be put back on the market, providing “immediate relief to the Toronto Area’s low vacancy rate.”