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Advocacy group targets investors

by Justin da Rosa on 11 Jul 2016
A Toronto-based coalition is calling on city councillors to crack down on an investor strategy that is growing in popularity. Good luck, says one investor.

A recently launched group is calling on Toronto councillors to crack down on Airbnb, arguing the home-sharing service is taking valuable rental properties off the market.

"We don't fault ordinary people who legally rent out a spare bedroom to help a visitor or to help pay bills," Lis Pimentel, chairperson for Fairbnb, told reporters in Toronto last week, per CBC. "However, we do believe Canadian cities must modernize their laws and enforcement so that there are fair, consistent and respectful market rules for short-term rentals."

Pimental argued the Airbnb rentals are contributing to affordability issues in the city.

One leading investor disagrees.

“I think that as long as homeowners are legally and responsibly providing a service [through Airbnb], I have no problem with it,” Claude Boiron, a Toronto-based investor, told REP. “As far as this contributing to the pricing of housing and scarcity of availability, I don’t see that.

“I don’t really see a connection; not in a substantive way.”

Boiron also argues Airbnb rentals have very little impact on the housing market in Toronto, citing condo boards that crack down on this type of business venture.

“Many condo buildings, if the property manager finds out the owner is renting on Airbnb, they will crack down on them,” he said. “They will tell them they can’t use it any more. Even as an owner, you have to abide by the condo board rules. Most don’t want Airbnb users.”

That’s because the high turnover associated with home sharing programs is seen as detrimental to condo communities, according to Boiron.

“It’s less safe for people in building, and contributes to more wear and tear on unit,” he said. "They can’t keep track of who comes and goes.”

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