Toronto City Council Passes Airbnb Rules to Free Up Apartment Rentals

New rules will remove basement apartments from short-term rental market

There are some major changes coming to how Airbnb operates in Toronto. City Council voted 27-17 to pass strict regulations Thursday that will ban homeowners from renting out basement apartments and “secondary suites” on the short-term market.

The move is designed to help the city fix its long-term rental shortage, which currently sees the city sporting a 16-year low vacancy rate of 1.1 per cent. Under the new regulations, which are expected to take effect by July 1 of 2018, Airbnb hosts will only be able to rent out their primary residence on the short-term market. Investment properties, basement units, and secondary suites will ostensibly be available to people looking for a long-term rental residence.

“I think we stayed true to our principal that any owner or renter in this city can use primary residences in short-term rental…The city today struck the right balance in maintaining and protecting our (housing) stock, while allowing for innovation in this home-sharing economy,” Mayor John Tory said.

Short-term rental hosts will pay the city $50-a-year, while agencies like Airbnb will be forced to pay the city an annual $5,000 licence fee, plus a $1 per night fee on rentals under the new regulations.

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