As Ottawa eyes short-term rental limits, Airbnb says it won’t solve housing crisis – National

The federal government plans to push ahead with its crackdown on short-term rentals in Canada in an effort to alleviate the country’s housing crisis, but Airbnb says home-sharing regulations are not the solution.

As part of the 2024 federal budget that was unveiled Tuesday, Ottawa has recommitted to spending $50 million to help municipalities limit the number of short-term rentals.

According to the budget, the short-term rental enforcement fund – which was also proposed in the 2023 fall economic statement – will support the work of provinces and cities that have already taken action to free up listings on platforms, such as Airbnb and Vrbo, for the long-term market.

The budget document did not expand on how exactly this fund will be used, but said “the government is currently engaging with stakeholders to design a program that will be responsive to municipal needs, and will announce further details later this year.”

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The Department of Finance did not respond by the time of publication to Global News’ request for more details on when the federal government plans to launch the short-term enforcement fund and how that money will be used.

Click to play video: 'Liberal government unveils new rules targeting short-term rentals'

Liberal government unveils new rules targeting short-term rentals

Starting this year, Ottawa has already enforced a new measure that was proposed in the 2023 fall economic statement, denying income tax deductions for people leasing short-term properties that do not comply with provincial and municipal laws.

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At least five provinces — British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island — have short-term rental laws in place or in development, according to Airbnb.

Some provinces, like British Columbia and Quebec, have recently put in place strict rules on short-term rentals with hefty fines amid growing concerns about illegal listings.

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For instance, as of May 2024, some British Columbians will legally only be able to rent out a primary residence and one additional secondary suite as a short-term rental. But the legislation does not provide a blanket ban on these rentals and smaller municipalities are not included.

Meanwhile, Quebec’s regulations, which went into effect last fall, require people who want to rent their properties for stays of 31 days or fewer must acquire registration numbers from the provincial tourism industry regulator and display them in their online listings.

Click to play video: 'Short-term rental rule concerns for B.C. property owners'

Short-term rental rule concerns for B.C. property owners

According to the 2024 federal budget, based on 2020 estimates, short-term rentals listed on platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo are keeping 18,900 homes off the market in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

But Airbnb estimates that listings in Canada represent less than one per cent of the number of dwellings in the country.

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“Home-sharing regulations will not solve Canada’s housing crisis,” Nathan Rotman, policy lead of Airbnb in Canada, said in an emailed response to Global News Wednesday.

“The reality is the majority of Airbnb hosts in Canada share one home to supplement their income and listings represent less than one percent of the country’s housing stock.

“Airbnb is always willing to work with governments at all levels to address community concerns and have done so with many cities across Canada.”

A spokesperson for Expedia Group, which is the parent company of Vrbo, said short-term rentals have played a critical role in Canada’s tourist economy and travellers will continue to seek them as an option for vacations and family gatherings.

In an emailed response to Global News, Hunter Doubt, Expedia Group’s manager of government and corporate affairs for Canada, said the company supports efforts to encourage compliance with short-term rental regulations.

“Effective, sustainable short-term rental policies at any level of government are only achieved through open dialogue and collaboration,” he added.

— with files from Global News’ Amy Judd and Richard Zussman and The Canadian Press

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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