Clichés be damned! Toronto has shown that when it comes to Airbnb, we can have our cake and eat it too. 🍰
This week, a provincial tribunal ruled in favour of Toronto’s proposed rules for short-term rentals. (There are several, which you can read about here.)
The important part is that up to 5,000 Airbnb units could be returned to the long-term residential market in Toronto thanks to the new regulations. These are places being used exclusively for short-term rentals, and where the property owners don't live.
It’s also worth noting that TO's new rules leave about 16,000 Airbnb units available to tourists or other short-term renters.
Why it matters
We love this win! It’s a good example of how governments can develop regulations that support local tourism and allow people to generate cash through homesharing, all while protecting a city’s rental housing. It also helps free up rentals RIGHT AWAY, while Torontonians wait for newly built supply to become available.
We also love this win because it highlights an important myth about Airbnb and other short-term rentals. Polling from Abacus suggests 62% of Canadians think Airbnb makes rental housing more affordable or has no impact on housing prices.
But data shows that a 1% increase in Airbnb listings can increase rental prices. We also know that as units are taken up by short-term rentals, fewer are available for residents, which also affects affordability.
Toronto joins Vancouver, Victoria and a handful of other places that have already taken steps to manage how short-term rentals impact housing affordability. Welcome to the club, #theSix.
Gen Squeeze is a proud member of the Fairbnb Coalition, which intervened in the hearing, but our role was limited to cheering from the sidelines on this one. So big ups to Thorben Wieditz and the Fairbnb team, and to everyone else who defended the TO regs during the hearing. 👏
It's not clear if landlords will appeal the tribunal ruling or not, but they've got 30 days. The city says it will offer more details on the new regulations in December.
Better rules for short-term rentals are needed in more than just a handful of places. Limiting this kind of harmful demand is a key component of Gen Squeeze's housing affordability framework. That's why we're working to help local governments regulate short-term rentals in ways that are practical, cost-effective and locally-tailored.
Stay tuned for more information on how we'll be doing this in 2020 – coming very soon.