For immediate release
December 7, 2017
Toronto City Council Passes Tough Rules for Short-Term Rentals by 40-3, With Protection for Affordable Housing Stock
(Toronto)—Tonight, the Fairbnb.ca Coalition is celebrating after Toronto City Council voted 40-3 to pass the City’s first short-term rental by-law. The victory comes just weeks after Fairbnb worked with local activists to back a similar by-law in Vancouver. The overwhelming vote in Toronto came after several amendments designed to toughen the rules were first adopted by tighter majorities, with councillors often voting in defiance of fierce lobbying by Airbnb and other short-term rental companies.
“We want to offer our heartfelt thanks to Mayor Tory, Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, Municipal Licensing Staff and City Council for taking such direct action against the threat that ‘ghost hotels’ pose to Toronto’s broken housing market,” said Lis Pimentel, Chair of the Fairbnb.ca Coalition. The Coalition coined the term ‘ghost hotel’ in mid-2016 to describe how investors were taking a growing number of homes, condos or apartments entirely off the long-term housing market to operate as gray market hotels through Airbnb and other platforms. “The new rules Council adopted tonight effectively ban ghost hotels while legalizing real homesharing, and we’re especially pleased at how forcefully the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Bailão made the case to their colleagues to protect affordable housing supply.”
The new by-law includes several features that Fairbnb sought from the beginning of the campaign it launched almost a year and a half ago. These include:
- Rules to permit registered, lawful “homesharing” only in homes that are a short-term rental host’s primary residence;
- Despite initial resistance to the idea, the by-laws will require that homesharers provide government ID to prove that their address is their primary residence;
- Various rules require data disclosure from Airbnb and other vendors to the City to assist with enforcement, with additional rules to license short-term rental platforms, and
- Protections to prevent landlords from turning affordable secondary suites into ghost hotel units. A compromise rule adopted by Council will allow such rentals only with the permission of a long-term rental tenant.
Housing activist and Fairbnb.ca Coalition member Geordie Dent of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations noted that homesharing companies have often sued cities to try to prevent the implementation of tough homesharing regulations. “We hope Airbnb and its competitors understand that with such an overwhelming vote, Toronto is sending a message that it values long-term tenants over short-term profits,” he said. “We’re looking forward to working with City officials to help enforce these regulations once they take effect next year.”
For more information, please contact:
- Thorben Wieditz at 647-409-8997 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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