Government policies have been slow to reflect the reality of condo living. Nowhere is this clearer than their handling of short-term rentals. Our politicians seem to be acting without thinking.
Mortgages are cheap and housing is expensive. Investors have been incentivized to become landlords to the point where half of all new condos, and four in ten of existing ones, are now owned by people not living in them. Condo communities intended as residential housing have become temporary homes for tourists and short-term renters. Toronto’s vacancy rate of 1 percent is in stark contrast to more than 22,000 short-term rental listings as late 2019.
Toronto has failed to crack down on those turning condo homes into hotels. More people are now offering condos for short-term rental (pre-covid) than before the City’s short-term rental regulations were approved.
Boston offers a stark contrast.
One week after banning short-term rentals in any dwelling not owner-occupied for at least nine months of the year Airbnb eliminated half its listings for the city – a drop from about 4,000 to under 800. Hosts are limited to one listing at a time. They must register with the city, pay a licensing fee and renew annually.
One has to wonder if Toronto really wants to control short-term rentals.