A final ruling in Toronto was reached on Monday in a case between the City of Toronto and Airbnb Landlords. Stricter rules regarding Airbnb and other short-term rental services will be put in place. Further rules and penalties will follow in the coming months.

City council had voted in favour of the following changes back in December of 2017 to combat the city’s shortage of affordable housing. Airbnb landlords appealed these regulations, but the provinces Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) ruled in favour of Toronto.

The adjudicator for the LPAT said the regulations “represent a reasonable balancing … ensuring that housing is provided for residents, that a full range of housing is available including short-term rentals, and that the business and tourism economies are supported.”

Mayor John Tory said, “This is good news for Toronto residents and a step in the right direction when it comes to regulating short-term rentals and keeping our neighbourhoods liveable.”

Under the new rules, landlords will only be allowed to offer short term rentals (defined as less than 28 days) in their own principal property for 180 nights a year. The same rules apply to secondary units such as basements. Homeowners can rent up to three bedrooms in their own home year-round.

In addition, landlords will be required to register their rental with the city and pay $50.

Rental platforms like Airbnb will have to pay a one-time license application fee of $5,000 plus $1 for every night booked through their service.

Essentially, landlords will no longer be able to own property and list it strictly for short term rentals. The reason is to keep more properties on the market for residents living in Toronto. As many landlords have learned in recent years, short term rentals can be very profitable with a little more effort. But, having roughly 21,000 properties being listed for short term rental, makes the already expensive rental market even less accessible. 5,000 of these properties are expected to return to the long-term residential market.

If you are a landlord with properties listed for short term rentals year-round, you can expect the rulings to come into effect in the new year. It might be time for you to consider switching your property to a traditional, long term rental.

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