Today, the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) released best practice guidelines for regulating short-term rentals.
Governments at all levels are grappling with the implications of the growing short-term rental industry and platforms like Airbnb. The paper, "Developing a Modern Approach to Short-Term Rentals in a Digital Economy," gives Canadian municipalities an analysis of regulatory developments worldwide and best practice approaches to developing a local framework.
A response to limited regulation
What started as true home sharing has expanded into a growing trend: people using these platforms to become commercial operators. Over the last two years, the commercial side of Airbnb's business – those renting multi-unit entire homes – grew by 108%. These entire home rentals generated 83% of Airbnb's revenues.
"Today, the short-term rental industry operates with limited regulation," said Alana Baker, HAC's director of government relations. "Online platforms are being used to operate commercial accommodation businesses, resulting in unintended consequences including lost taxes, less housing, community nuisances and even criminal activity. There is an acute need for federal, provincial, and municipal governments to put in place a modern regulatory framework that will address these consequences, promote fairness and protect communities."
A proposed framework
Based on emerging best practices around the world, the proposed framework outlines regulatory tools that cities can apply, including:
- Host registration and fees
- Platform registration and fees
- Principal residence restriction
- Cap on usage
- Health and safety standards
- Reporting requirements
In Canada, the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec, as well as the cities of Toronto and Vancouver have implemented rules around short-term rental platforms.
Ottawa has announced that it will conduct a regulatory review, as have Edmonton, Calgary and Nova Scotia. Each is looking to balance the interests of the travelling public with those of members of the community.
"Our industry is committed to working alongside governments in Canada to develop a fair, sensible and practical approach to the short-term rental industry that acknowledges the difference between true home sharing and a commercial operation," said Baker. "Getting this balance right will protect communities and ensure that visitors continue to experience a safe and enjoyable stay."