Edmonton set to rein in spread of short-term rentals

Canada: The city of Edmonton is preparing to manage the rapidly expanding presence of short-term rentals at a time when operators across Canada and the United States are facing growing regulations.

City officials say the short-term rental market in Edmonton saw listings shoot up by 30 per cent in the downtown area between May 2014 and May of this year.

Last year, city councillors released a report that recommended that short-term rental hosts in Edmonton would have to apply for a business licence for a cost of $92. They would also be required to permit Alberta Health Services to inspect the property, live on the property themselves and provide the necessary contact information.

Ulrik Binzer, the founder of Seattle-based data and software provider, Host Compliance, told The Star that Edmonton was lagging behind other cities in terms of satisfactory short-term rental regulations but that this could still be repaired.

He said: “I always recommend that cities think about it and put in place regulations that work for them sooner rather than later as opposed to having their head in the sand and deferring the problem to a future date. It’s not going to get easier; it’s only going to get harder.”

“Not regulating it essentially kicks the can down the road. There is so much growth in this industry – it only becomes much, much harder to solve in the long run,” he added.

Other Canadian cities such as Vancouver have adopted their own regulations in recent times to rein in the spread of Airbnb-type rentals.

The city implemented restrictions on Airbnb in April 2018 and according to research carried out by McGill University, over 300 homes had returned to long-term renting within four months. Furthermore, properties cannot be rented out for more than 30 consecutive days at one time, while in Toronto the maximum number of rentable nights per year stands at 180.

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