airbnb toronto

Toronto says it will be strictly enforcing new rules for Airbnbs

The City of Toronto has implemented some stricter rules for people operating Airbnbs in the city, and it says it definitely plans on punishing those who don't abide by them.

After all short-term rentals in Ontario were prohibited due to the pandemic back in April, major cities like T.O. saw and more former Airbnb units transition into the long-term rental market, to the joy of tenants who have reaped the consequent benefit of rents dropping to record lows for many months now.

The market for small apartments in highrise condo buildings, which are typically the most prevalent unit type chosen for Airbnb rentals, has been the most impacted, with sales of such properties declining drastically as owners desperately try to get rid of them now that they're no longer as profitable, flooding the market.

Even though many hosts were still illegally accepting guests during the ban and it was eventually lifted in June, Airbnb listings have definitely dwindled, in part thanks to the ban, which was reintroduced last month as Toronto moved into grey-level lockdown, and also new criteria for vacation rentals coming into effect in the coming weeks.

Airbnb hosts can now only rent out their primary residence — no investment properties or ghost hotels allowed — and must now register their property as a short-term vacation rental, with a looming deadline of Dec. 31 to do so.

And as of last week, more than 90 per cent of owners still haven't yet.

"After January 1, 2021, the City will take enforcement action against operators who are not registered or are not following the rules...  Registration is a mandatory step to legally rent out homes for short-term stays," the City wrote in a statement on Thursday.

"Enforcement action will also be taken against short-term rental companies that allow unregistered operators to list on their platform or contravene the bylaw."

Staff will use the information provided about a unit upon registration, along with resident complaints and info found listings online using "data scraping techniques" to bust those who are defying the regulations.

It will also be making third-party providers like Airbnb provide details about rentals in the city, and will be holding them accountable for monitoring listings themselves.

"Short-term rental companies must ensure that all short-term rental listings on their platform have a valid City registration number... and may validate against this list to ensure invalid or unregistered operators are removed from their platforms," the City writes.

"If a short-term rental operator is not compliant with the bylaws, the City will use its authority to cancel registration. If the City cancels an operator’s registration, short-term rental companies are also required to remove the operator from their platforms."

As much as hosts may be fans of operating despite the rules, punishment for flouting the new mandates are not light — operators could face fines of a staggering $100,000, with fines for individual offences ranging from $300 to $1,000.

And for anyone who was planning on taking advantage of the last few weeks before the laws tighten up, Airbnb itself has placed a moratorium on New Year's Eve parties at any of its rentals globally.

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