The Party Is Over For Party Houses

In recent years, the surge of short-term rentals popping up on websites like Airbnb has hurt communities like Willowdale by reducing the stock of available rental properties, leading to soaring prices and less stable neighbourhoods.

With land speculation continuing to be a significant factor in the local real estate market, owners have become more creative in monetizing properties on these web platforms, renting out homes as party venues and causing headaches for large groups of neighbours seeking John’s assistance.

That party, however, is about to end. In November the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), upheld the City’s short-term rental bylaw which had been approved by Council in 2017. This outcome means that the City will be able to regulate how properties are advertised on rental sites.

The most significant change is that short term rentals are now only legal in the principal residence of the owner. Listing rooms in an investment property is no longer legal. The bylaw also stipulates that any short-term rental must be registered with the City of Toronto and pay the 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax that applies to local hotel rooms. It is John’s belief that this new set of rules will create more accountability for property owners renting their space, and more ability for City staff to take action if there are problems.

John has also moved a series of motions at the Government Licensing and Management Committee this fall calling for improved service standards for bylaw enforcement, asking for more staff to be added as needed, to be funded through fines applies to properties breaking the bylaws.

Unfortunately, these bylaws do not apply to illegal rooming houses, or long term rentals. To address a problem rooming house, our most effective course of action remains involving the Fire department to look for fire code violations. If you wish to report a concerning property, please contact our office and we would be glad to assist.

This story was first featured in John’s 2019 Winter Newsletter.