In a landmark decision by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), Airbnb landlords who argued that short-term rentals were just like any other residential use of a home lost out to a vote in favour of regulatory policies.
The LPAT decided in favour of the city’s short-term rental rules which allow landlords to rent out solely their principal residences for up to 180 nights a year.
An adjudicator for the LPAT said that city’s regulation of Airbnb’s business “represented a reasonable balancing…ensuring that housing is provided for residents, that a full range of housing is available including short-term rentals, and that the business and tourism economies are supported.”
In a city grappling with rental housing & affordability, yesterday’s ruling was an important victory for the City of Toronto. We proved that you can permit short-term rentals without negatively impacting our much needed supply of rental housing. https://t.co/ugF0ghcPqY
— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) November 19, 2019
Homeowners are permitted to rent up to three bedrooms year round on a short-term basis – a term defined as less than 28 days.
Tribunal member Scott Tousaw explained that each short-term rental within the city district displaces a permanent household.
The impact of this on the affordable housing crisis is huge.
In fact, the Globe and Mail estimated this past June that Airbnb removed up to 31,000 homes from Canada’s rental market.
Tousaw also said that homeowners wouldn’t be allowed to use basement apartments as short-term rentals.
The LPAT said the tribunal’s decision would return up to 5,000 of Toronto’s more than 21,000 Airbnbs to the long-term rental market. Those are properties that owners aren’t currently residing in – in other words – investment properties.
Great news! After years of delays and a combative challenge, Toronto’s short-term rental by-law is upheld by LPAT. AirBnB is finally going to get reigned in. During a housing crisis, this decision will put 5000+ long-term rental homes back on the market. https://t.co/LrSSQyJeaT
— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) November 19, 2019
Mayor John Tory praised the LPAT for enforcing the balance between allowing investors to reap a profit but also ensuring that the city’s stock of rental apartments wasn’t depleted by tourists.
In a statement, Tory explained: “These changes do not prohibit short-term rentals but permits and regulates them in a manner that does not displace households. They also provide opportunities to meet the needs of residents and visitors requiring or preferring short-term rental accommodation in a residential setting.”
The new rules will likely be enforced at the start of 2020.
No word yet on whether Airbnb landlords will appeal the Appeals court for a second shot.