We’ve seen Airbnb regulation come up as an important topic in cities all over the world in the last few years. It’s a sign of the changes happening in our economy, changes in technology, and changes in the way we travel and the places we stay. Some cities have imposed strict rules that can be difficult to implement, some only a few key regulations, and some haven’t considered regulations at all.
The City of Ottawa has also been taking part in the conversation, considering whether or not to regulate Airbnb and how. As part of their Rental Accomodations Study, they are looking at regulations for short-term rentals.
One of the topics that has come up in the proposed regulations is that Airbnb hosts would only be allowed to put their primary residence on Airbnb. That means that they could only host in the home that they live in – either hosting a room in their while they’re also home, or hosting out their entire home while they’re away.
At Short and Suite bnb we see the behind-the-scenes of running Airbnbs and we take the wellbeing of hosts and travellers very seriously. That being said, we’ve got to be honest: we find this idea very, very concerning. Here’s why:
This would effectively push experienced hosts off of the platform. Often when people are hosting out of their own home, they may not know about how to properly screen guests or how to ensure their Airbnb is kept secure. This leaves both guests and hosts open to a lot of risk.
Who’s watching your property while you’re away?
New rules could mean that a host could only rent out an entire home or entire apartment on Airbnb if it was their primary residence while they’re away. But what happens when a host is away? While they might be available to be contacted, if they aren’t around then nobody is watching their property. If something goes wrong they may not be available to be on-site. As a rule, we always say that you should be able to get back to your Airbnb within one-hour in case of emergency. This is an important consideration for the safety of hosts, guests and neighbours.
Limited Options for Tourists
There is a demand for entire units on Airbnb. Many don’t feel safe staying in someone’s primary residence. For example, many women have stated that they would never stay in someone’s primary residence. Why should it be more difficult for them to visit Ottawa? Yes, hotels exist – but Airbnb is an affordable option that makes travel accessible to more people. And depleting the stock of entire units will discourage people from visiting our amazing city.
In September 2019, the city released the Regulation of Short-Term Rental Accommodation paper, put together by Maclaren Municipal Consulting Inc. for the City of Ottawa. Before this, they’d also put out the Short-Term Rentals Discussion Paper and the Short-Term Rental Options Paper. These are all available to the public on the City of Ottawa website.
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