Airbnb hosts, hotel owners face off
Both sides at testy public hearing raise concerns about potential regulations MORE ON AIRBNB DEBATE AT
The Airbnb debate has returned to Calgary as hosts active on the platform for shortterm rentals faced off against hotel owners at a public hearing about potential regulation Wednesday.
Calgarians who rent space on platforms like Airbnb voiced concerns about overly restrictive regulations.
Hotel industry representatives spoke in favour of rules that would create a “level playing field” between hotels and short-term rentals.
They argued the shortterm rentals were undercutting their businesses unfairly.
They said they’d like to see rules like a cap on the number of days per year short-term rental operators can rent their units and restricting rentals to an owner’s principal residence.
Svet Pargov, who manages Airbnb units in Calgary, Canmore and Golden, B.C., said guidelines like that would be a blow to his livelihood.
He started hosting on Airbnb with his wife Tina Svet Pargov and Tina Poon rent several Calgary units on Airbnb, and they say they want to see regulations that will allow them to continue to do business.
Poon after Alberta’s economic downturn.
Pargov has built a business managing short-term rentals for other homeowners and said he’s on board with changes to licensing or tax requirements.
But a move to cap the number of days he’s allowed to rent would make the business “untenable.”
“It’s not a reasonable solution
for Calgary where people are struggling to even rent their unit (long term),” Pargov said.
“I just want to make things legitimate,” he added.
Ward 1 Councillor Ward Sutherland requested last year that the city review oversight of short-term rentals.
A report presented Wednesday recommended developing a tiered business
licence category that would include short-term rentals.
Calgary Hotel Association executive director Peggy Athans said the recommendations are a good first step but they don’t go far enough.
She argued short-term rentals like Pargov’s are “illegal hotels within residential housing” that are unfairly not subject to the same rules as hotels.