Regulators from cities around Canada are continuing their campaign to clamp down on online home-rental services, such as Airbnb. The company has reconfirmed it will to work with regulators and follow their legislation if the new laws don’t punish casual users. This is because not all hosts operate as a business.
Toronto and Vancouver are two major cities debating the introduction of regulations that would impose restrictions on home-rental platforms. Quebec was the first to introduce regulations and is now aiming to overhaul its legislation to introduce more restrictions.
“There are still a lot of misperceptions about what homesharing is all about,” said Alex Dagg, Airbnb’s director of Canadian public policy.
“That’s the concern – that you come up with something that you think makes sense. And without understanding really what your community is looking like and how they’re using the platform and how they’re benefiting from it, you can really design something that isn’t helpful.”
While many homeowners and tenants use platforms like Airbnb as a business opportunity, many others simply rent out property or portions of their homes for extra cash. In a similar conflict as the taxi and Uber debate, the traditional hotel industry is opposed to Airbnb because the company suffers less restrictive regulations and is not forced to pay the same taxes.
Dagg is attending a city council public meeting to fight Airbnb’s case in Vancouver. If new regulations are introduced in the city, starting in April hosts would have to pay for a $49 license per year and would only be allowed to rent all or part of the primary residents.
However, Dagg argues some Airbnb rentals in the city may be from people who have a primary residence outside Vancouver.
“It’s complicated,” she said, and called for regulations that reflect the complexity.