Airbnb's main competitor pulls out of Toronto over the city's new short term rental rules
Vrbo, the short-term vacation-rental platform owned by travel giant Expedia Group, has announced that it's quitting Toronto for good.
The Airbnb competitor that allowed users to book condos, cabins, and beach houses has decided to exit the market thanks to the City's crack down on short-term rentals.
"After years of ongoing discussions, Expedia Group is saddened that the regulatory environment in Toronto has caused us to withdraw from the short-term vacation-rental market," said Philip Minardi, Expedia’s director of policy communications, in a statement to The Logic.
Vrbo hosted over 300 houses, condos, apartments, and studios in Toronto. Short-term rentals were temporarily banned for periods of 2020 due to lockdown.
The company's withdrawal from the city makes Airbnb the only licensed platform to operate short-term rentals (STR) in Toronto.
In December, the City announced that it was implenting stricter rules on Airbnb operators, with enforcements kicking in on January 1.
Airbnb hosts can now only rent out their primary residences, meaning investment properties and ghost hotels are finally banned. Anyone hoping to use their primary residence as an STR must register their property with the City.
The result has been a flood of condo rentals flooding the market during COVID-19, with rents dropping to record lows and staying there for months.
There have been calls for more stringent bylaws regarding STR platforms since 2017, with organizations like Fairbnb advocating for better regulations amidst a housing crisis and stricter punishments for illegal listings.
Large numbers of Airbnb listings have been accused of taking over condos in Toronto. Early last year, ICE Condos moved to ban Airbnb units from its building entirely.
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