No relief for residents plagued by Airbnbs
City punts decision and action down the road for another year by Eric Stober
The city of Toronto has agreed to postpone an appeal of restrictions to Airbnb for a year due to an adjournment, leaving the proliferation of short-term rentals in the city unchecked.
On Sept. 5, the city’s local appeal board, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (which replaced the Ontario Municipal Board) accepted an adjournment request from one of four appellants who appealed restrictions placed on Airbnb by the City of Toronto in December 2017.
One appellant has since withdrawn, according to the tribunal. Due to scheduling conflicts, the next available date for the hearing turned out to be Aug. 26, 2019. This delay means that Airbnb restrictions approved in December will not take effect until after the appeal is heard, leaving concerns over short-term rentals in Toronto unaddressed.
The restrictions approved in December 2017 included limiting Airbnb rentals to properties where the host is the principal resident, as well as banning homeowners from listing secondary suites, such as basement apartments. Toronto City Council also voted to have Airbnb hosts register with the city, allowing the city to track whether existing listings have a permit number or not.
The rules were meant to be enforced in June 2018, but an appeal filed and scheduled for August — and now moved to 2019 — has delayed them.
“[The rules were] introduced to allow the city to get a handle on more and more Airbnb hosts that are leasing or buying up entire
“People can make a lot more money in an unregulated shadow economy.”
condos and houses on residential streets in order to use them as quasi hotels,” said Thorben Wieditz, a spokesperson for Fairbnb, an advocacy group for short-term rental regulations.
According to a 2017 study by McGill University, 10 per cent of Airbnb’s hosts earn the majority of Airbnb revenue, and that revenue is largely generated by “multilistings,” where hosts have three or more entire homes listed.
The study also shows that Airbnbs in Toronto and other major cities have proven to be very profitable, with Airbnb hosts in
Humewood resident Lisa Sabato