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'I would rather live next door to a frat house': Airbnb bylaw decision next week
EDMONTON -- City council is still debating potential bylaw changes that would apply to short-term rentals such as Airbnb.
‘Personally I would rather live next door to a frat house,” said Garneau resident Sheila Munro.
Munro lives next to rental properties that had been listed on Airbnb but they were removed after a woman was stabbed at one of the rented houses.
Munro was one of about 20 people who relayed their experiences with short-term rentals to city council on Tuesday.
Three bylaw amendments sit before the urban planning committee related to the rule:
- Operators must include a valid business licence number on their advertisements;
- To consider ads of a short-term rental property as evidence a business is operating there; and
- To deem the owner of a short-term rental property to have consented to the advertising of that property.
The bylaw amendments would need a majority vote from council on all three readings to be passed.
Some suggest the bylaws don’t go far enough and that hosts who rent out multiple properties they don’t live in should not be allowed.
“It’s no different than a hotel and everything should be taxed and everything should be the same as well,” said Garrett Turta, general manager of the Hotel Macdonald.
“You don’t get additional compliance or less nuisances because an owner is either present or it’s their primary home,” said Nathan Rotman with Airbnb.
Rotman suggests that an owner’s business licence should instead be revoked after a certain number of complaints.
As of August 2019, Edmonton requires short-term rental accommodations like Airbnbs to have a business licence.
ADRESSING SHORT-TERM RENTAL CONCERNS
Administration was asked last summer to explore the city's options after concerns were raised about Airbnb rentals in Edmonton.
Last May, the city counted 2,146 registered short-term rentals. The majority – 63 per cent – were defined as "entire home rentals" where the property is exclusively rented out.
Over 20 months in 2018 and 2019, the city received nearly 100 complaints about Airbnbs, prompting council to ask for more information on zoning, taxation, licensing and provincial regulation of Airbnbs.
A report to council found some ideas were not as feasible. For example, administration found enforcement would be more effectively done through existing rules, rather than requiring short-term rentals to have a development permit.
It also considered placing entire-home rentals in the non-residential tax class as an option to increase property tax rates. Administration said the cost to track and apply a different tax rate would be significant and complex, in part due to there not being different licensing for short-term rentals and entire home rentals.