GTA

Toronto to enforce new Airbnb regulations after tribunal rules in favour of stricter bylaws

A provincial tribunal has ruled in favour of Toronto’s plan to put stricter regulations on the city’s short-term rental market.

The Local Planning and Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) made its decision Monday, nearly two years after the city first approved the bylaws.

Under the rules, Toronto will require short-term rental operators to live at the home they list on sites such as Airbnb.

Operators will also be allowed to rent a maximum of three bedrooms in their home or their entire property. They will be required to register with the city to rent out space in their homes.

“This is a major victory for tenants across Ontario,” said Thorben Wieditz of Fairbnb, a coalition that represents the hotel industry, along with property owners and tenants.

The regulations are essentially designed to increase the availability of long-term rentals by decreasing the number of homes eligible to be listed on sites like Aitrbnb and VRBO.

However, the rules were not implemented due to multiple appeals made to the LPAT, formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board.

The LPAT ruling means the city can now move ahead with the regulations.

Ana Bailão, Toronto’s deputy mayor and housing advocate, said the ruling strikes a fair balance that will benefit both tenants and homeowners looking to leverage their properties.

Airbnb and other companies operating in the short-term rental market will now be required to pay a one-time license fee of $5,000, plus $1 for each night booked through their platform.

Rental operators will also be charged with a four-per-cent municipal accommodation tax on all rentals that last less than 28 consecutive days.

The LPAT decision notes that some 5,000 units could return to the long-term rental market as a result of the new regulations.

“In the midst of an acute affordable housing crisis, returning even a fraction of these 5,000 units to Toronto’s long-term rental housing market will make a huge difference in the lives of renters in Toronto,” said Bahar Shadour of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario in a Fairbnb news release.

CBC

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