Homeowners back Airbnb as Toronto debates restrictions

A debate between the City of Toronto and those who oppose its tighter rules on short-term rentals began this week.

The City says that the proliferation of rentals through Airbnb and similar services has made Toronto’s housing crisis “significantly” worse and passed rules in 2018 to tackle the issue.

These rules include only allowing short-term rentals for owners’ principal residences and requiring registration of renters and payment of a 4% accommodation tax.

The City’s position is that the availability and affordability of long-term rentals is being squeezed by homeowners opting for the larger returns available through Airbnb.

But those in favour of short-term rentals say that they provide accommodation choices for both visitors and newcomers to the city.

“The city is now, with a sledgehammer, gutting this important and flexible form of short-term accommodation without sufficiently considering or understanding the likely impacts of doing so,” lawyer Sarah Corman, who is representing Toronto real estate agent Alexis Leino, told Huffington Post Canada.

The hearing is scheduled to last at least 7 days.

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