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Tribunal upholds Toronto rules on short-term rentals like Airbnb

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Nov 19th, 2019

An Ontario tribunal has upheld rules passed by the City of Toronto on short-term rentals like Airbnb.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal says it has dismissed an appeal by several residents who objected to the rules that put limits on how people can rent out their properties.

Tribunal member Scott Tousaw says in his ruling that while the exact numbers involved are in dispute, it’s clear that each short-term rental displaces a permanent household.

He found that the Toronto rules, which don’t allow secondary properties to be rented out for short-term use, still allow a number of short-term rental uses while not threatening the city’s strained housing supply.

He says the rules represent a “reasonable balancing” between housing needs and supporting business and tourism economies.

Fairbnb, which pushed to keep the rules, says the ruling is a major victory for tenants across Ontario.

Toronto mayor John Tory issued to the following statement on the matter:

“Today, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) upheld City Council’s comprehensive rules for short-term rentals in Toronto – the so called ‘Airbnb’ regulations.

This is good news for Toronto residents and a step in the right direction when it comes to regulating short-term rentals and keeping our neighbourhoods liveable.

When we approved these regulations in 2017, we strived to strike a balance between letting people earn some extra income through Airbnb and others, but we also wanted to ensure that this did not have the effect of withdrawing potential units from the rental market.

I have always believed our policy achieves the right balance which in this case falls more on the side of availability of affordable rental housing and the maintenance of reasonable peace and quiet in Toronto neighbourhoods and buildings.

As the LPAT decision notes, these regulations represent ‘good planning in the public interest.’

The decision also notes, correctly, that these changes do not prohibit short-term rentals but permits and regulates them in a manner that does not displace households. They also provide opportunities to meet the needs of residents and visitors requiring or preferring short-term rental accommodation in a residential setting.”

However Airbnb says the rules may “unfairly punish some responsible short-term rental hosts who are contributing to the local economy.”

In a statement they said:

“We remain committed to working closely with the City of Toronto and the Airbnb community as these new rules are implemented. We encourage other platforms to also come to the table and support responsible home sharing in Toronto.”

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