Toronto's New Airbnb Rules Will Return Thousands of Units to Housing Market

For those of you in Toronto, this may not be the greatest news. I expect you’ve been watching this closely.

New Airbnb Rules Will Return Thousands of Units to Housing Market

Just to editorialise for a minute, I believe this is a good thing. In a number of cities around the world Airbnb is responsible for taking houses and apartments out of the rental market, putting upward pressure on prices for those who don’t (and perhaps never will) own their own homes.

I’d be very interested to know what the general opinion of the forum members is. I realise this sort of thing will impact some of you directly, but in my view the needs of the many should outweigh the needs of the few.


Well now the price pressure goes in the other direction now that 5000 units hitting the market all at once.
So say a host in toronto built a 2nd unit and paid for permits, operated a legal STR and now is faced with a choice of either getting a full time tenant at a lowered market rate or leaving it empty. This is not the boogy man investor host they reference in the article, but this host is still SOL



As a resident of one of the least affordable small tourist towns in the U.S., I am aware of the effects of STRs on housing. I’ve also seen the effects in popular places such as London, Rome, Edinburgh, Munich, Paris, etc. I’ve met people on public transportation who now face long commutes instead of being able to live in the towns where they work.

When I use AirBnB. I like to look for hosts who are onsite, or who don’t have other listings. When I stay with someone, I feel like I’m helping them stay in their home by contributing to their mortgage. I personally feel better doing that than a whole-house rental that makes it harder for the local people helping me in restaurants, shops, and places of interest to find affordable housing.

I know many people see things differently, but living where I do has shown me the effects in my community.


I live in such a small tourist town and it is hard to find a place to rent full time, so this has the affect of higher rents for the full time rentals due to high demand. About half of the houses here are part time residents who use their properties themselves and many also use them as STR’s so they can get the benefit of using the property and offset the cost of ownership.
I do not want full time tenants, I do not want to be a landlord. I do not know what the answer is but forcing me via regulation to add to the housing stock for full time rentals is not the answer.



Yes, it’s a rough situation all the way around. I think the STR phenomenon snuck up on many communities. Many investors jumped in before regulations were put into place, and are now in a pickle.

Our town finally took a stand, allowing homestays (homes shared with the owners), but not whole house rentals, within the city limits. if guests want a whole house rental here, they can rent outside the city limits.


I have been a landlord for over 25 years.
I have 9 rentals.
2 commercial
3 longterm
4 short term.
To be frank I am completely over long term rentals. I am over being seen as a greedy landlord who has lots of money! The returns are awful, the repairs expensive and the last few rounds of tenants take little care or responsibility.
Much prefer STR !


I much prefer guests over tenants. Guests don’t tell me why they cannot pay the rent or they will be late, guests don’t act like they own the place and if I do not like them they are leaving on Sunday.



We have the opposite situation in our town. Over 10% of the housing stock in our area is vacant. The feeling locally is that it isn’t worth it to update and renovate houses to LTR…the renting population here by and large can’t afford the rent on a nice place.

The town has lost about 30k people since the 1960s. The good paying jobs have mostly left. Anyone with a halfway decent paying job can afford to buy a house here—houses are really cheap.

Right of this minute, there are 23 single family homes for sale in our area for under $50,000. The cheapest one—and its on a decent street in a decent neighborhood—is only $15,900. I know the house—my husband and I looked at it 17 years ago when we got married and bought a house here. We were looking (17 years ago remember) for something $65,000 or less. I remember this house. It needed some work then, but was not bad. No improvements have been made to the house since then and it’s now priced significantly less than it was listed for then.

The city struggles with absentee landlords who buy super cheap property at tax auction and rent it out without screening tenants. The tenants take no care of the property and trash it. The property starts on a downward spiral that ends in it being unlivable and the city has to pay to tear it down.

So the AirBnB hosts like us, who have brought houses, renovated them, and turned them into STRs have done a good thing. Rental property is assessed at double the usual rate for property taxes. The STRs are also paying 6% tax to the state, and 6% tax to the city. Plus we have to pay Business and Occupational tax to the city. So we’ve contributed quite a bit to the local community just in the taxes we pay.

We don’t get many tourists. Mostly what we get are people visiting family, and people coming for temporary work assignments. But they need housing and are, I think, glad to have some option besides the local hotels.


Interesting, as I am the other way around on this. I like the simplicity of long term rentals, less work for me, less hassle with cleaners …

I actually find that there is less maintenance required overall. If something breaks it has to be fixed regardless of what sort of rental it is. Long term tenants have more of a sense of ownership than overnighters, so do tend to be more careful.

I’ve had very few issues with non payment of rent, though it has happened, but in the end I’ve always been paid (eventually).

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I’ve done well with LTR too. I’ve only had one tenant I had to evict. I had two others I gave notice to leave—one was a demanding, entitled PITA that I gave notice to, and the other was a dual income working couple that I let have two pugs—then, in defiance of the lease, they got a puppy. But most of my LTR tenants ended up staying longer than they initially expected to and I’ve not had problems collecting the rent on time.

I screen carefully though, and offer a really nice product so I think that definitely helps.


I, for one, am sooooo glad I could rent a whole house when my sister was terminally ill in a hot tourist market. It was a way for my family to be together in one place and not in a hotel lobby or restaurant. To eliminate whole house rentals, or banish them to a geographically undesirable place is not the solution. I will always speak up for the need for people to have that option.


This is another thing I can’t understand. VRBO and other platforms like booking and villas com and others served homeowners way long before Airbnb existed. Why Airbnb got such bad reputation with parties and other stories I am not sure . VRBO opened in 1995 thats 13 years before Airbnb came to life.
I would unferstand with homesharing because that concept was unique…but with separate units…? People rented their vacation properties for many many decades. Ranging from days to weeks.
Basically now what regulations are aimed toward is bring Air to what it was supposed to be : homesharing with spare rooms to rent .
I am not even sure why everyone started to buy houses or appartments for Airbnb specifically ? What difference was it with VRBO? There are plenty of appartments now on VRBO who are rented even for one day .


I am doing much better with long term tenants than short . Actually now I even dread short term stays . In my house and another separate house equally .

I think this is the difference. I rented on VRBO for the first time back in 2005 or 2006. Back then, the homes were generally someone’s vacation home or second home and they rented it out when they weren’t using it. Because they were vacation homes or second homes, they were generally in tourist areas or travel destination area—not usually in large urban cities.

For example, the first one we ever stayed in was a very large log cabin on a river in the Cascade mountains in Washington state. We were living in the Tacoma WA area and wanted to get out of town for the weekend. The cabin was obviously a family’s treasured vacation home. Homes like this were often managed by property management firms who made guests sign contracts, present real ID, and collected actual security deposits (or at least valid credit card info) from the guest. Blow out parties and renters who wreaked the houses were extremely rare because of these safeguards.

AirBnB started out as a home sharing program where you actually stayed in someone’s primary residence. It evolved from that to become what it is today—an unwieldy hodgepodge lodging behemoth that is flailing around trying to get its feet under it and figure out what its doing.

Because of the ease of becoming a host—you didn’t even have to be the owner of the property!—and the financial incentives lots of people jumped in. Becoming a guest was an easy process too, and AirBnB got a reputation as a “cheap” lodging option.

Everyone figured out how to “game” the system to get what they wanted out of it, and AirBnB didn’t care, and didn’t try, to stem the abuses by hosts or guests. They wanted to simply be the platform, and leave all the risk, and difficult stuff, to everyone else. They could have acted in such a way to discourage scams and parties…but they did not.

Now that AirBnB has become synonymous with “short term rental” the same way facial tissues are almost universally called “Kleenex” all short term rentals have become tarred with the same brush. But it’s primarily the AirBnB rentals that have caused the issues.


I rented through VRBO many years ago . Process was exactly the same as with Air. Only once in NC for a week stay there was agent present at check in . Other times it was pick up keys from neighbor situation . Many times it was just someone’s home in residential area. Then we rented appartment through VRBO in Copenhagen…again just residential area.
What changed is you are right people who are not owners started renting out someone’s else’s houses.
But my question still stands…why people didn’t do it before ? Why with VRBO all went smooth for more than a decade and Air gets such bad reputation. It’s all started with Air…all the regulations for residential properties and all the restrictions . Why people didn’t make scandals and parties in VRBO listings who were basically the same ?
And again I am talking only about separate units . Not the home sharing . With home shari g where owner present nothing major ever happens .

I think, as it become more popular, people began renting on AirBnB who had never rented a short term furnished rental before. Perhaps you know for sure, but I suspect 18 year olds were not commonly allowed to book on VRBO, and it seems many of the damages are caused by parties at AirBnBs are organized and attended by people who are really young.

I also think, because of the over saturation of the market, prices dropped. AirBnB kept trying to expand their host base, and increase their guest numbers so they did no real vetting of either guests or hosts. Suddenly, instead of the usual traveling public, you had people who had never been homeowners and who were very limited in their income and life experience renting nice homes and treating them with less than respect.

Those are my best guesses. I really don’t know why. I do believe the way AirBnB won’t take responsibility for the issues—for instance, removing bad guests and hosts from the platform—is a definite cause of many of the problems. If there are no consequences for bad behavior then, for some people, that’s a green light to behave as they wish without regard for anyone else.

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A[quote=“Atlnative, post:12, topic:37442”]
I, for one, am sooooo glad I could rent a whole house when my sister was terminally ill in a hot tourist market. It was a way for my family to be together in one place and not in a hotel lobby or restaurant. To eliminate whole house rentals, or banish them to a geographically undesirable place is not the solution.

Yes! One of my first bookings was a family coming to visit their dying father. They returned several times over the course of two months, and then stayed the last time when they came for his funeral. I know it was really helpful for them to be able to all stay together in one house. One of them wrote me a thank you letter afterwards, and expressed their appreciation for me hosting them during that difficult time.

There will always be situations where a hotel is not the best—or even a feasible—option.


This is nothing new, at least not where London, Edinburgh and Paris are concerned (three cities I know well), it’s been like this for years. During the eighties, like thousands of others, I used to endure a two and a half hour commute in the morning and a three hour return journey in the evening, in and out of London.

STR is being painted as the bogeyman by many cities; but, in my opinion, it’s all a bit of a smokescreen. There has always been a shortage of safe affordable LTR property in big cities and if the cities themselves had got their shit together in respect of urban planning and licencing & regulation of commercial rentals (STR) years ago then there wouldn’t the situations many find themselves in now.

Folks often cite Barcelona as being a “classic example”, and it makes good copy, both online and in print, to bemoan the fact that STR has taken over in the city centre, forcing ordinary folks out, and how the local authorities have now been “forced to act”.

The problem there is that is has been the local authorities themselves who have created this issue; promoting Barca as a tourist venue for years, schmoozing the budget airlines to bring more passengers from more destinations as cheaply as possible and then allowing large investors to purchase properties, that previously were social housing (or destined to be when completed), to turn into STR’s. The great irony is that many of these investment properties are lying empty and the council are now fining landlords with empty properties.

When you look behind the popular press and ill informed internet articles who blame Airbnb for a city’s housing woes, I can guarantee you will find a different story.



I agree. I think it’s because Airbnb doesn’t support it’s hosts and goes out of the way to accommodate the guests and the guests are abusing the system. When I first started STR 4 years ago, Airbnb was there for me. Now, I pretty much rely on myself and only expect them to be my advertising and payment processor. I do pretty well. (I have a background in marketing e-commerce so understand the technology and how to keep my listings show up. My state and city has done their regulations and taxes and it’s worked out well for me. I have always done things the legal way. I had one neighbor who complained (but they complain about everything) and they just moved. Yah!!! I couldn’t live in this house after my separation if I didn’t have the income.

Simple: Volume. Airbnb made everything easier and through marketing they brought in more customers. A lot more.

That wasn’t my experience. I had to call the host to talk about my stay, then I had to get forms from the host via e-mail, sign and scan them and send them back, then I had to get insurance and send the host proof I had paid for it. The process took several hours and it didn’t matter if it was your first booking on VRBO or your 20th.