Toronto gets it right with new Airbnb bylaws

The popularity of air bed and breakfasts (Airbnb’s) in Toronto is growing but at what cost to renters? Although, short-term rentals like Airbnb’s are an affordable way for travelers to see Toronto and stay in the center of the city, new rules are being put in place to restrict them.

On Dec. 4, Toronto city council approved to regulate Airbnb’s. Hosts of Airbnb’s are now only able to rent from their home address, are only allowed to rent for 180 days per year, must declare their homes as rental properties and pay an annual fee of $50.

Airbnb’s have taken over Toronto’s affordable rental market and regulating this market is necessary to prevent it from collapsing.

Regulations and restrictions will limit who can run an Airbnb. This idea may open rental properties in Toronto, to a starving market.

Although Airbnb’s may help financially to those hosting them, they’re eliminating affordable real-estate within the city. The Toronto housing market is high and rental properties are scarce.

According to the Government of Ontario, Toronto’s vacancy rate is 1.6 percent, which means for every 1,000 apartments, 16 are available to rent and according to the Toronto Star, this vacancy rate has hit a 16 year low.

Sure, Airbnb’s help travelers stay within the city and do so affordably. But what about hotels in Toronto? Airbnb’s have an unfair advantage over hotels says, hotel association president and chief executive officer, Terry Mundell.

Contrary to hotels, Airbnb’s don’t tax visitors and do not pay fees but the new by-law may help reduce these impacts by restricting renting and charging new fees on Airbnb’s, such as rental property fees.

Residents in condominiums (condos), such as Neptune condo, located in Toronto, say they’re worried about their safety and security when dealing with Airbnb’s says, vice president of Neptune condos.

In November of this year, in Vancouver, British Columbia, regulations on Airbnb’s were implemented into the city.

In Vancouver, new licensing will require a host of an Airbnb to rent only at their home address and also ban hosts from renting from a property where they don’t live. Hosts will have to pay a fee of $49 per year and a one-time application fee of $54.

Vancouver currently has a vacancy rate of 6.2 percent. But near the end of 2016, the vacancy rate was 0.7 percent. The city of Vancouver has agreed to an empty homes tax, which will be reinvested into affordable housing for the needy living in city.

They have also implemented a “Mansion Tax,” which individuals making over $250,000 per year and couples making over $500,000 per year are subject to pay a 2.25 percent tax. But are similar taxes coming to Toronto to aid in our similar situation?

Restricted on sharing their homes and property. Some Toronto homeowners are saying they deserve to have the right to do what they want with their property. But Toronto residents can’t afford to give up real estate. They deserve affordable housing.

In a crowded city, space shouldn’t be taken for granted. Allowing for travelers to spend time within Toronto is beneficial, but the by-laws put in place were done so for a good reason.

Toronto is in a housing crisis that may be halted by restricting and regulating Airbnb’s.