The City of Edmonton’s Urban Planning Committee convened on February 25 to further discuss the regulation of short-term rentals (STRs).
In August 2019, after hearing from Airbnb hosts; neighbours; and representatives of the hotel industry, including Tracy Douglas-Blowers, the AHLA’s Director of Membership & Industry Relations, council’s Urban Planning Committee recommended that short-term rentals be required to purchase a business licence to operate in Edmonton.
At that time, the committee asked Administration to explore further bylaw changes to manage concerns regarding short-term rentals.
The AHLA was disappointed in the recommendations brought back to the committee on February 25, which fail to acknowledge the impacts and realities of the digital economy on the city, its residents, and its revenues.
The committee discussed Administration’s recommendations, and heard from a number of stakeholders including AHLA members Garrett Turta, General Manager of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, and Barnie Yerxa, General Manager of the Delta Edmonton Centre Suite Hotel and Delta by Marriott Edmonton South Conference Centre. Douglas-Blowers also presented at the meeting.
“The recommendations in Administration’s report demonstrate a lack of appreciation of the neighbourhood and property tax implications of commercial STRs and the impact their operation will have on our city, left unregulated in the long term,” said Douglas-Blowers. “We believe these realities can be addressed by looking at the examples of Canadian cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa, which have limited short-term rentals to the owner’s principal residence.”
At the end of the discussion, the Urban Planning Committee put forth the following motion, which is due on June 30, 2020:
- That Bylaw 19143 be given the appropriate readings. This bylaw would require STR hosts to provide their phone number and an information guide about the bylaw to renters and to display their business licence number in any advertising.
- That Administration explore potential bylaw changes related to short-term rentals, including:
- Defining a short-term rental as any rental agreement of 25 days or less.
- Establish a notification process to adjacent property owners for all short-term rental properties.
- Examine options to ensure equity in approval processes between “entire rental” properties and shared home rental properties.
- Explore options for “entire rental” properties to address concerns regarding:
- maximum number of rental days in a year;
- maximum number of occupants;
- maximum number of rental properties owned by a single person;
- restriction of rental property ownership to those with a primary residence in Edmonton.
- Development of complaint and/or bylaw infraction thresholds that would result in license suspension or removal.
The AHLA will continue to work with Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels, the Hotel Association of Greater Edmonton, and all of our Edmonton members to call for fair rules for STRs.