Short-term rentals limited by Ontario court

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A New Landmark Ruling for Tenants in Ontario

The rejection of an appeal by Airbnb landlords is being hailed as a major victory for tenants across Ontario. That is, the landlords sponsored the view that short-term rentals are just like any other rentals. Meanwhile, Toronto is passing new zoning bylaw amendments. It is also aiming to limit the exploitative use of short-term leases. Ultimately, these measures meant to raise rents and force tenants to comply.

The adjudicator stressed how the city’s regulation regarding Airbnb provided a ‘reasonable balancing’, ultimately, ensuring multiple and diversified solutions for the residential infrastructure of the city, including safeguarding housing for residents, and supporting the business and tourism economies.

New Regulation in Toronto to Limit Short-term Rentals

Under the city’s new regulation, short-term renting would be allowed only in landlords principal residencies for up to 180 nights a year for an entire house or apartment. In addition, the new regulation will also prohibit short-term rentals of basement apartments.

However, two things are still unclear. Firstly, if landlords will appeal; secondly, exactly how long will the city take to implement and respect the set regulations. Having said that, the landlords have a limited window of time, with 30 days available to request a review of the decision by the LPAT court.

Numerous figures have already voiced their support of the ruling: Mayor John Tory praised the decision highlighting how it strikes a balance between allowing citizens to earn extra money without depleting the city’s housing market. Airbnb, a coalition of tenant advocates and community groups that participated in the process, stated: ‘Even if you return only 3000 [housing units to the market] it’s a huge win for renters in Toronto’.

Alex Dagg, public manager for Airbnb Canada, voiced his concern regarding the regulation, citing that it could be detrimental to those who use short-term rentals and, by consequence, stimulate the local economy.

On one hand, Airbnb is the largest platform operating in the city for short-term rentals. On the other hand, it chose not to have a formal standing at the appeal.

New Toronto? Good Old Toronto

Among the LPAT reasoning for rejecting the landlords’ appeal with regard to short-term renting, it seems that the character of the city of Toronto played a role in influencing the judiciary choice. Scott Tousaw, the LPAT adjudicator, stressed how the “commercial characteristics of dedicated short-term rentals” could affect the composition and social mixture of the cityscape and its neighborhoods.

Toronto always prides itself on the unique and distinctive character of its neighbourhoods. Certainly, existing fears that short-term rentals and touristic accommodations would deprive the city of its peculiarity, are quite reasonable.