airbnb toronto

New Toronto Airbnb hosts have earned more than $2.5M since the pandemic first hit

Investors who've been using sites like Airbnb to operate illegal "ghost hotels" may be trying to pull out of downtown Toronto in light of pandemic losses and new restrictions, but it appears as though regular hosts — the type of people Airbnb was actually for — have been doing quite well lately.

A new report from the short-term vacation rental platform shows that new Toronto hosts with only one listing have earned roughly $2.5 million, collectively, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globally, the company says that single-property hosts who joined Airbnb after February of 2020 have since earned more than $1 billion.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has sent travelers looking for safe, comfortable settings in which to connect with family and friends, creating economic opportunity for others to earn needed extra income by listing their homes on Airbnb," reads a release announcing the report.

"We are gratified to be able to announce that new hosts with only one listing who have welcomed their first guests after the start of the pandemic have already earned more than $1 billion."

Airbnb says that the "typical new host" in Canada has earned about $2,400 since the pandemic began.

"This is income being used to pay important bills. Half of all hosts worldwide tell us they use their Airbnb earnings to stay in their homes," reads the report.

"In an especially difficult time for working women, who have been hardest hit by job losses during the pandemic, we estimate that 55 percent of these new hosts are women and they have collectively earned more than half a billion dollars hosting on Airbnb since the pandemic started."

Depending on the size, location, dates and amount of privacy involved with any given unit, places in Toronto are currently renting for as little as $71 per night to upwards of $600 per night.

There is indeed much evidence on the platform of Toronto residents renting out their entire homes or rooms in their homes, as permitted by the city's recently-updated (and much stricter) short-term rental bylaws.

That said, there are also many hosts who appear to have multiple listings that are not primary residences. Others have skirted the rules by calling themselves hotels (which are exempt from the city's rules) or upping their minimum stay limit to 28 days.

Furthermore, thousands of Airbnb hosts are thought to be operating without licenses (this, based on the number of current listings and the number of hosts who've actually registered their properties with the city, as its new rules mandate.)

Some ghost hotel operators with dozens of Airbnb condos have been caught faking registration numbers, but the city has pledged to crack down on enforcement — meaning that any financial gains could soon be cancelled out by fines.

The punishment for flouting the new rules include fines of up to $100,000 for operators and $300 to $1,000 for individual offences.

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