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Nathan Rotman, a spokesperson for Airbnb Canada, said he was in favour of licensing and registration for short term home rentals in the city.

In the city there are some 500 listings and according to Rotman they are rented out an average 67 nights per year. He also said that the city hosted 22,000 visitors in 2019 via Airbnb.

City administration currently uses a discretionary-use approach to STAs, but found an overwhelming amount of non-compliance amongst those renting homes and rooms.

The proposed amendments to the bylaw would make licenses $100 for a primary residence and $300 for a secondary residence. That’s to cut down on the possibility of people turning apartments or properties for rent into STAs exclusively as has been seen in some larger markets. All in all this licensing program is expected to cost the city $75,000 with license fees covering the cost of the program.

Failure to license a STA or advertise the license number on a posting would result in a $1,000 fine.

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 licenses issued should vacancy dip below three per cent.

She also proposed that there be a limit for multi-unit dwellings like condos or apartment building that could hold STAs. Citing studies of other cities Young proposed that  35 per cent of rooms in multi-unit dwellings be allowed for rental as STAs.

Council will vote on the changes Oct. 28. If approved the new regulations will come into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

alsalloum@postmedia.com

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