Short-Term Online Rental Marketplace (STORM)
The Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), in partnership with the Hotel Association of Canada, has released a new study which demonstrates that commercial operators are growing exponentially, far outpacing actual home sharing activity.
The sharing economy is adding inventory to Alberta’s supply of guest accommodation without building a single new hotel. Home-sharing platforms, such as Airbnb and others, appeal to a certain segment of travellers and to homeowners wanting to augment their income; however unregulated rentals and the home-sharing platforms that promote them have created unintended consequences, such as:
- Loss of affordable housing due to the financial incentive to convert homes and condominiums to short term rentals,
- Impacts to property values:
- Increasing values as investors seek to purchase property in prime areas that offer attractive returns on investment through commercial home-sharing activity, or
- Lowering values as a result of noise, nuisance and safety impacts on neighbours.
- Lost hours of work for those employed in the regulated accommodation industry, and
- Lost tax revenues for government.
Toronto, Vancouver, and a number of American cities are already feeling the impact of these unintended consequences.
The AHLA recommends that the Government of Alberta:
- Review & modernize legislation including the Condominium Property Act, Residential Tenancies Act, Innkeepers Act, and Tourism Levy Act to reflect the new realities of the sharing economy.
- Permit a maximum of 30 room nights for short-term online rentals and home-sharing.
- Make home-sharing platforms legally responsible for:
- Collecting and remitting the Tourism Levy on behalf of hosts, and
- Sharing information related to host listings and rental activity
- Require all providers of short term accommodation to comply with cleanliness, health, and safety regulations.
The AHLA encourages Alberta municipalities to:
- Restrict home-sharing activity to principal residences only for a maximum of 30 nights.
- Require all providers of short term accommodation to hold a current business licence and occupancy permit and carry adequate property and liability insurance.
- Require all providers of short term accommodation to comply with municipal bylaws and zoning.
- Require Short Term Rental platforms like Airbnb to be licenced with the municipality.