Hamilton, Ont., will be placing limits on the owners of AirBnb properties in an attempt to protect Hamilton’s rental housing market and eliminate so-called “party houses.”
During a planning committee meeting on Tuesday, councillors voted 10 to 2 in favour of a revised bylaw limiting short-term rentals (STR) to a property owner’s principal residence.
After hearing from about a dozen and a half property owners with a rental, councillors also opted to impose a cap with no one rental going for more than 28 nights consecutively.
However, a proposed 120-day annual cap was nixed by the committee allowing leeway with short-term rentals of secondary suites, including basement and laneway suites.
“As a retiree, my only income is the government pensions,” delegate Sally Lloyd argued.
“To depend upon these pensions alone, it is impossible for me to survive and keep my home.”
Hamilton councillors gave the green light for new rules last July after municipal enforcement offered up a system limiting property owners from renting out principal residences in an effort to stem complaints from neighbours.
The plan was derived from staff report recommendations produced through public consultations, including an online survey suggesting the adoption of a regulatory scheme similar to one in place in Toronto.
That bylaw came into force in January 2021 and requires a property owner intending to rent out a space for less than 28 days to get a city licence.
An estimated 900 STR units are operating in Hamilton with the highest concentration in downtown based on information gathered pre-COVID-19.
Around 60 per cent or 600 of the units were reported to be unoccupied in early 2022 with a number of entire dwellings being rented out for use on platforms like Airbnb.
The planning committee’s decision needs to be ratified by council next Wednesday.
City staff estimate the cost of administering the STR licensing program will be about $286,000 annually.
The deadline for all STR operators (hosts) to register and receive a STR license is May 31, 2023.
The city says enforcement will begin in early June and be primarily driven by public complaints.
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