Hotels and Airbnb hosts approve of short-term accommodation bylaw changes

Article content continued“The film industry is dead,” he said. “I put it on Aribnb and I’ve had great success.

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“The film industry is dead,” he said. “I put it on Aribnb and I’ve had great success.”

A yearly fee of $100 for a primary residence and $300 for a secondary residence will be brought in for STA hosts.

“I mean, of course, it affects the bottom line, but I’m running a business so I expect to pay some kind of fees,” he said.

The fees are to cut down on the possibility of people turning apartments or rental properties on the market into STAs exclusively, as has been done in some larger markets.

Speaking on Thursday, Tracy Fahlman, president and CEO of the Regina Hotel Association, also applauded the changes as it “levels the playing field,” in her words.

“More than ever before we — the hotel industry — are really facing truly an uncertain future, so this is much needed,” said Fahlman.

For Fahlman the issue isn’t hosts like Scavuzzo, the issue comes from entire homes and buildings being rented out in-lieu of functioning as housing.

“They shouldn’t be exempt from the rules and regulations designed to build a local economy and keep people safe,” said Fahlamn.

For hotels in Regina, things are dire. Fahlamn said the industry has lost more than $47 million this year, operating at 14 to 17 per cent occupancy — a far cry from a break-even point.

Councillors voted unanimously this week in favour of adopting the recommendations, clearing the way for council to vote on and potentially enact the bylaw changes. The decision came with little opposition from delegations that addressed the committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Coun. Barbara Young (Ward 1) proposed two amendments which also passed with overwhelming support. Young brought up the question of vacancy rates and how allowing the rentals could affect access to housing. As such, she put forward that there be a cap on the number of licences issued should vacancy dip below three per cent.

Another amendment limits STAs in multi-unit dwellings like condos or apartment to 35 per cent of available rooms.