No re­lief for res­i­dents plagued by Airbnbs

City punts de­ci­sion and ac­tion down the road for an­other year by Eric Sto­ber

Bayview Post - - News -

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

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