“The number of complaints is starting to rise,” Councillor Geoff Meggs told The Globe and Mail
Recent studies revealed that Vancouver saw the number of listings shoot up to 4,728 at the end of 2015, from just 2,900 the year before. Nearly 70 per cent of these rentals are tagged as “whole unit” or “whole house”, a development which has led housing advocates and other local officials to petition for a deeper look into Airbnb’s system.
“We want as quick a timeline as possible,” added Meggs, who is championing a request this week for the city council to initiate further studies on the home rental giant.
“People are making the connection now between diminishing housing and the Airbnb listings, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the city’s policy and enforcement,” according to a local advocate who declined to be named.
Certain Vancouverites have taken their stances a step further, with an apartment near City Hall on West 10th Avenue even going so far as to add “No Airbnb” signage due to protests raised by the tenants.
But while many locals have welcomed Airbnb’s newfound position in the spotlight, some doubt the possibility of significant progress.
“I’m skeptical that Airbnb is going to be willing to co-operate. I’m wondering how are they going to collect this data,” Simon Fraser University graduate student Karen Sawatzky said. Her research involves the rental network’s impact on the local market.
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A Vancouver city councillor noted that calls for regulation and investigation of Airbnb have intensified among locals, many of which have voiced concerns that the rental-lodge network is using a disproportionate amount of the city’s low cost housing.