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Cities all around the world have been clamping down on the short-term rental industry, and Toronto is one of them. Since the arrival of vacation rental sites such as Airbnb and other vacation rental platforms, cities that are popular tourist destinations have found it increasingly difficult to control rent prices. This is because if you’re a landlord, you can make a lot more money by renting short-term than you can do by renting long-term. So, are short-term rentals allowed in Toronto? Here’s the lowdown:
Short-Term Rental Defined as 28 Days
As reported by the Canadian press, Toronto has announced a series of proposed regulations for short-term rentals. Toronto City Council defines a short-term rental as a period of fewer than 28 days. As a result, short-term rentals will only be permitted in primary residences, which means hosts are only allowed to list one property for short-term rental. In turns, landlords and homeowners who own multiple properties cannot rent a second property (or further properties) for a ‘short-term’ period through home rental sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway.
Additionally, an entire home can be rented out as a ‘short term’ rental (less than 28 consecutive days) for a maximum of 180 nights a year. This means that it’s more difficult for homeowners or tenants to list on home rental sites if they are managing a permanently empty property. Toronto is following in the lines of cities around the world such as New York and Singapore, which have strict rules in place to control the short-term rental market; however, at present, Toronto’s regulations are much lighter than other cities.
To take Singapore as an example, it’s illegal to list properties for a rental period of fewer than three months — making it one of the strictest cities in the world for the short-term vacation rental industry. New York also has strict laws surrounding short-term rentals, and it’s illegal to rent an apartment or condo there for less than 30 days, with very few exceptions to this rule.
Short-Term Rental Demand
Toronto is one of the top spots to visit in Canada, and a large percentage of tourists traveling to Toronto want to stay in short-term vacation rentals, as opposed to hotels. Landlords and tenants have been meeting this demand and this has aggravated the rental industry in major cities as it’s significantly more profitable to rent to tourists for a few days at a time than to rent to long-term city residents.
Registering Your Home
As with many cities around the world, if you want your home to be listed on Airbnb or similar home rental platforms short-term, you’ll have to officially register with the city of Toronto. The city is proposing an annual registration fee of $50 CAD for everyone who rents their place. Proposals state that if you don’t register, you are going against the law and could be fined up to several thousands of dollars.
Once you’ve registered, yourself, you, or your property, will be given an official registration number and this number will have to be disclosed on home rental platforms. Homeowners who are renting their property in a non-short-term capacity will not have to register under the new proposals.
How This Works
Under the proposals, once a property has been registered with the city as a short-term rental, the homeowners or tenants will need to provide the city of Toronto with an annual account of the number of nights their home was rented.
Going Against the Law
Under the proposed regulations, the city of Toronto will be investigating those who are not renting out their principal residence, and those who are violating the short-term rental bylaw. It’s said that homeowners may be prohibited from registering again for short-term rental and charged a fee.
Finding Short-Term Accommodation in Toronto
If you struggle to find short-term accommodation in Toronto due to the restrictions yet you want the privacy of an apartment for your short-term stay in Toronto, you can look at sites such as AllTheRooms and Booking.com who list apartment-hotels and hotel suites. These often feature their own kitchen or kitchenette, living-room area, and common area, so you can have the same type of privacy as if you were in your own place. As the rules aren’t that strict, however, you’ll likely still be able to find apartments or houses to rent for a short-term period of time. The only difference is there will be fewer listed.
Home sharing will be permitted under the regulations, with up to three rooms per household that can be individually rented out. This means hosts can rent up to three rooms in their apartment or house for less than 28 days without violating any laws. If appliances such as a fridge or stove are installed into the rooms, however, taking the form of a ‘secondary suite’, you can only rent rooms as such for over 28 days.
If vacation rental sites comply with the rules and the new laws are enforced, estimates suggest that around 6,500 homes could re-enter the market for those looking to rent long-term. This is great news for locals who are struggling to find a place to rent and are having to struggle against the rising cost of the rent. On the flipside, this is bad news for vacation rental sites and homeowners looking to maximize the money they can make by renting their property. As the regulations are much lighter than cities previously mentioned, such as New York and Singapore, only time will tell if there is a significant difference. The regulations are being appealed by homeowners in Toronto.
If, as predicted, thousands of homes do re-enter the market, this will make a big difference for thousands of families — in particular, those looking to rent long-term in a regulated environment. This is based on recent research done by Fairbnb, which is a collective of organizations calling for fair regulations for short-term rentals. Thorben Wieditz, a researcher for Fairbnb, said the report was made to update Toronto’s city council on the short-term rental situation.