OTTAWA — The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) has released a new report that outlines best-practice guidelines for regulating short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, at all levels of government. Developing a Modern Approach to Short-Term Rentals in a Digital Economy provides an analysis of regulatory developments worldwide and best-practice approaches to developing a local framework.
“Right now, the short-term-rental industry operates with little or no regulation. These online platforms are being used to operate commercial accommodation businesses, resulting in unintended consequences, including lost taxes, less housing, community nuisances and even criminal activity,” Alana Baker, director of Government Relations, HAC, explained in a media teleconference. “These consequences are not unique to one community…there is an acute need for federal, provincial and municipal governments to put in place a modern framework that will address these consequences, promote fairness and protect communities.”
According to a study released by HAC last fall, commercial short-term-rental operators are growing exponentially, with entire-home rentals generated 83 per cent of Airbnb’s revenue in Canada.
“The Hotel Association of Canada and its partners from across the country have examined approaches that have worked in other jurisdictions around the world,” Baker continued. Based on these emerging best practices, the proposed framework outlines regulatory tools that municipalities can apply, including:
- Host registration and fees
- Platform registration and fees
- Principal residence restriction
- Caps on usage
- Health and safety standards
- Reporting requirements
In Canada, the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec, as well as the cities of Toronto and Vancouver have implemented rules around short-term-rental platforms. Ottawa has also announced it will conduct a regulatory review, as have Edmonton, Calgary and Nova Scotia. Each is looking to balance the interests of the travelling public with those of members of the community.
“Our industry is committed to working alongside governments in Canada to develop a fair, sensible and practical approach to the short-term-rental industry that acknowledges the difference between true home sharing and a commercial operation,” says Baker. “Getting this balance right will protect communities and ensure that visitors continue to experience a safe and enjoyable stay.”
The HAC’s best-practice guidelines and proposed regulatory framework are available at fairrules.ca.