What's Happening to Toronto AirBnBs?

The City of Toronto was already cracking down on AirBnBs before the COVID crisis. Hosts were frantically trying to re-adjust their business models by lowering prices or by turning their units back into regular rental stock. What I am starting to wonder is whether COVID is the death blow for AirBnBs in Toronto. The Canadian economy, which is so reliant on house price inflation, consumer spending and the oil price, seems absolutely fucked at the moment. Perhaps more vulnerable than any other Western economy. So my question is this: what should AirBnB hosts do? Tough it out? Sell up? Turn their place into rentals? What’s going to happen once the dust has settled and the lockdown is over? Surely, people will still need a roof over their head? Any views, especially from Toronto hosts, are very welcome.

If I had the kind of rental that lent itself to LTR I’d do that, especially if I could get a good tenant. I wouldn’t hold out for traveling this summer, etc because I think that’s too risky. Two months from now when all the STR people who held out, flood the market with their newly minted LTRs, especially following Airbnb’s promise of making it easy and painless, it will be harder to get a good tenant and prices will be down.

That’s my thinking. Warning, I’m a pessimist on thinking there will be anything like “normal” this year.

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I think that the question should possibly refer to all short term rentals rather than Airbnb alone. It’s more likely that Toronto has passed legislation regarding short term rentals rather than ‘cracking down on AirBnBs’.

Hopefully most businesses that had short term rental accommodation already had contingency plans in place? No one can tell whether COVID is the end for Airbnb in Toronto. If the legislation is in place, then short term rentals won’t be legal there regardless of whether you use Airbnb, any other platform or your own promotional resources.

I suspect that every host will be different. I’m also assuming that property prices will be driven down? That would make selling something of a last resort option?

Long term rentals can bring in more money than STR and there are normally fewer hassles and it’s pretty easy to find tenants without having any OTA or advertising fees to pay. So that’s really the only option, other than selling up, if short term rentals become illegal in your area.

Hosts have to bear in mind though that what constitutes a short term rental varies from place to place. Here, for example, anything under 90 days counts as a STR - other places might be different.

@Suntory, there is a Toronto Airbnb host Facebook group that has been chatting about this very thing. Are you a member of that?


I never understand what people mean when they say that LTRs are less hassles. A lot of hosts I know went to STRs exactly because they had so much trouble with LTRs. Slobs who turned the place into a pig sty, didn’t pay the rent on time, took forever to evict because of landlord/tenant laws, left truckloads of garbage behind when they finally moved out. Even if they’re gainfully employed and have references, they can turn out to be a nightmare- I’ve dealt with several myself.
Sure, if you are lucky enough to get a really good long term renter it can be fine, but it seems not that easy.

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Exactly as above!
Wouldn’t allow access for repairs.
Massive hoarder.
Formal complaints about vermin, but had cat food all over the floor.
Physical fights between neighbors
Poor property care.
Never ever again!


And my biggest fear, getting a squatter. In my state after 29 days they become a tenant and there is a very long process where they basically get to live free (and destroy your space) and you have to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees and incentives to get them to move.

I originally converted an Airbnb guest to a LTR a few weeks ago but when I started to check his background, I found a lot of discrepancies.

For two weeks I couldn’t get his boss to return my calls for a reference, nor the previous landlord or the person who’s place he was supposed to move into in two months.

When my state sent out the notice that only essential workers could stay in STR I told him he had to leave per the order of the state. I never mentioned that essential workers could stay.

Funny how his boss couldn’t return my call but within 6 hours he had a letter from his boss saying he was an essential worker. I will never risk anyone over 28 days ever again. I only have a kitchenette so it doesn’t lend itself to LTR anyway.


I can understand why you are leery of this guy. As an aside, only kitchette might not be as much a minus as you think. There are a lot of people who don’t really cook. One of my friends has described all the meals she is eating out and it’s clear she doesn’t cook. All she needs is a fridge and microwave. Another friend is getting an awful lot of carry out and justifies it as “I’m worried about my favorite restaurants.” But now that I think of it, I’ve never seen or heard any evidence that she ever really cooks. She buys premade stuff and heats it up.

I think I could set up a “kitchenette” with a fridge, microwave, toaster oven and a small set of dishes and easily get a LTR.

The issue is that I don’t have a kitchen sink so I provide paper plates. I did buy a hot plate burner for this guy but it makes me nervous so I will take it out. I provide a toaster oven, microwave, coffee maker, electric tea kettle and a small fridge but larger than a mini-fridge. I also provide a full size dinning room table. I talked to my plumber about a sink and he said he could replace out the bathroom sink with a kitchen sink but I really don’t want to spend the money. I don’t want LTR because of squatters. I’m seriously thinking of selling the house and buying a smaller place one I finalize my divorce. The hard part is figuring out where to move to.

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I understand. I just don’t want anyone to think they are “safe” for LTR requests due to not having a kitchen.

I don’t know about your personality and lifestyle but if I had to start over some sort of tiny living or retired nomad sounds very, very good to me. My main barrier are my two large dogs. Once they cross over a new phase of my life will (hopefully) begin.

Thanks for the tip. I wasn’t aware of the group and I’ll check it out.

Yes, you are right, the city didn’t just crack down on AirBnB. However, AirBnB is by far the biggest player and most, if not all the discussions the city had was with AirBnB executives.

@Suntory, search for Airbnb Toronto and GTA on Facebook.

If you don’t mind me asking, what type of property are you listing?

For context, my house is divided into two units and we Airbnb out the unit upstairs, which is separate from where we live downstairs (our primary residence). The new rules, as far as I understand them, limit STR of properties apart from your primary residence and only up to 180 days per year. In our case, our understanding is that we can still use our space for STR and even if we are limited to 180 days per year, I think we would come out financially ahead (or just about even) than if we just had LTR for a full year. Honestly, we’re quite reluctant to LTR because we know how much of a pain it can be if we have a bad tenant and we’ve had such a good experience with Airbnb to date.

Our plan for now is to just tough it out and see. We’re fortunate to be in a position that we’re not dependent on rental income, so we have some time to wait. I know that there has been a sudden jump in furnished units available for rent, which were obviously STR converted to LTR and I imagine some of those will remain as LTR. Perhaps that might mean that whatever remains on Airbnb and other platforms that abides by the rules will be in greater demand? :smiley:

Just saw this thread now. I have two whole-condo listings in Toronto, currently rented out for 1.5 and 2 months each. I’ve been hosting for just over four years now (since March 2016) and part of me thinks this will be a healthy correction that pushes the fly-by-night operators and corporate-style landlords out of the market.

There will still be strong demand for whole-apartment short term rentals from families and large groups who want something nicer than a whole room. There will also be less supply, as every available STR unit will have to be tied to an individual who claims it as their one (and only) principal residence. People will still be able to claim one principal residence even if they don’t live there (since the city won’t have any way to prove otherwise) so you’ll see quite a few listings that are available 180 days for the whole place, and the other 180 days for one or more bedrooms (since room rentals aren’t restricted by the bylaw). Rates for whole apartments will be very high since there will be few available!

For example, one of my units is owned by a guy who is from Toronto but lives in the US now. As such, his principal residence is our listing. It’s a 2 bedroom condo so under the new bylaw we should be okay to rent out the whole play for 180 days and one of the bedrooms for the other 180.