City of Toronto releases recommendations for legislating Airbnb, other “short-term rentals”

Toronto City Hall front

A new report from the City of Toronto might mean new legislation around the use of Airbnb and other “short-term rentals.”

The report lists recommendations separated into three categories: zoning, licensing and registration, and taxation.

Among a number of other recommendations, the report suggests:

  • That Toronto’s Zoning Bylaw be amended to “create a new land use called ‘short-term rental’”
  • The City license and charge a usage fee to companies like Airbnb
  • The City create a registry for residents who use their homes as short-term rentals
  • The City ban residents from listing anything other than their primary dwellings
  • The City implement a hotel or short-term rental tax up to 10 percent

City of Toronto mayor John Tory spoke to reporters at an event on Monday, June 12th, 2017, to answer questions about the suggestions outlined in the latest report.

Tory emphasized that the City plans on further speaking with industry, government, and public stakeholders to discuss the report’s recommendations.

“We’ll see how the public consultation goes, we’ll see how the council schedule goes,” said Tory. “It’s an ambitious time-table, but it’s something that’s been there for some time.”

In addition to discussing the proposed short-term rental tax, Tory addressed the issue of senior care, property values, and neighbourhood safety.

While speaking with reporters, Tory drew a direct comparison between the City’s attempts to regulate services like Airbnb and the City’s successful regulation of ridesharing services like Uber.

“Our [ridesharing] model now is working much better than when the industry was unregulated,” said Tory. “It’s watched the world over. People are getting in touch with us to see how we did it.”

According to Tory, regulating short-term rental services is a matter of striking “the right balance” between regular residents and those who use short-term rental services.

Tory also said that the City of Toronto is seeking the assistance of different levels of government, echoing Toronto city council’s December 2016 requests that the Province of Ontario introduce some form of legislation that grants the City authority to collect a hotel and short-term rental tax.

The June 12th, 2017 report is the latest in the City’s ongoing attempts to placate Torontonians worried about properties and neighbourhoods affected by services like Airbnb, and Torontonians who use these rental services to either rent out their own residences or pay to rent the residences’ of others.

This is the second report on short-term rentals published by the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards division (MLS).

The MLS published its first major short-term rental report in October 2016.

City council will no doubt further discuss the results of this report at a meeting later this month.

Sources: City of Toronto