Canada's Condominium Magazine

Proposed Toronto rules may help condos manage disruptive short-term rentals such as Airbnb

Toronto is finally moving to curb short term rentals with new proposed licensing. The sudden rise of short-term rentals — personified in Airbnb — has created “coping issues” in condominium communities. Disruptive short-term renters tend not to respect the community common areas, amenities and rules.

 

Airbnb and short term rentals can be wonderful for travellers if properly managed. Toronto’s move to licence short term rentals, with key restrictions, should help make Airbnb more compatible with condominium communities.

 

At Condo.ca we’ve reported on several complaints from neighbours to condos being rented out as short-term hotel-like suites: everything from noise, to hallway-overflow parties to community damage. Many insurance companies aren’t covering either the owners or the communities. [For example, see this “Ask the Lawyer” complaint from a neighbour of a condo short-term rented>>]

These issues have financial consequences, too, beyond damage, such as reduced resale value, increased maintenance costs, and higher insurance premiums. They also result in a lower inventory of long-term rental condos, in a market with a shortage of homes.

 

Owners of condos may face damage to their units from short term tenants. The bigger risk is annoying your neighbours — and the costs associated with possible breach of Condominium rules.

 

Toronto’s proposed regulations

Toronto’s proposed new rules may be just the fix needed for condominium communities — and also house owners. The rules were much anticipated, and, after much consultation with interest groups, came down harder than expected. Significantly, for condominiums, the city will allow condominiums to entirely ban short term rentals if they make it a bylaw, or rule of the community. Other measures, that will help, regardless of condominium bylaws, are a proposed licensing and registration system for short term rentals that:

  • only allow short term rentals of a person’s main residence — all of their home, or up to three rooms within the dwelling or unit.
  • require short term “landlords” to pay a fee and provide emergency information and safety equipment for guests
  • still allows web-based apps such as Airbnb to operate, as long as they conform to the rules
  • defines a short term rental as any stay of 28 days or less
  • charge a accommodation tax of 10 per cent, higher than hotels (which are required to collect 4 per cent).

The city’s goal is more about getting badly-need long-term rentals back into the market, where there is a significant shortage, but condominium communities and other special interest groups are not forgotten in the new licensing proposal.

Delisting the short terms

Currently Airbnb has just under 16,000 listings in Toronto. The new regulations would result in 3,200 of these being delisted — because they are not the primary residence.

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Auberge on the Park-Tridel
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