Almost half of Airbnbs in Toronto have turned into regular apartments

The pandemic has not been favorable to many industries, with things like travel and tourism being particularly affected, which has shaken platforms like Airbnb and the hosts that operate there.

Short-term rental owners started sweating early last year even before Ontario declared a state of emergency and locked everything down, citing tons of cancellations and fearing the extra revenue it would bring on. many expected no longer come.

And, inevitably, such vacation rentals were banned in Toronto in April as the health crisis worsened – but there was little sympathy for those with enough capital to own property only for Airbnbing for money. money.

Even before the ban went into effect, more and more short-term rentals in the city were appearing in the long-term rental market, being converted into actual apartments for residents who live here in the cities. last attempts by owners to recoup their losses. .

Although the ban was finally lifted later last year to be reintroduced in the fall, available registrations had fallen from normal levels, and additional rules were on the horizon that would make the operation of an even less attractive short-term rental.

These rules, which went into effect on January 1, included the fact that Airbnbs hosts could only rent their primary residences – no longer investment properties or ghost hotels – and had to officially register their property as a rental property. short-term vacations and also pay a municipal lodging tax of four percent on income.

The city has also pledged to be strict in law enforcement, penalizing operators with fines of up to $ 100,000 if found guilty by a court, although tickets for individual offenses vary. from $ 300 to $ 1,000.

All of this explains why 42% of units that were short-term commercial rentals before COVID are now back in the normal rental market, according to a new report City employees.

The document states that as of May 2021, there were only 3,349 short-term rental operators registered, which is paltry compared to the tens of thousands of listings in Toronto that previously appeared on apps like Airbnb.

But there are still those who flout the rules to illegally rent their homes, which can add up to thousands if September’s data is sufficient. Rental companies like Airbnb, however, now have a duty to remove illegal ads or face punishment themselves.

While the fact that more short-term rentals are being offered to longer-term residents is certainly great news for tenants who are still reaping the benefits of higher vacancy rates and lower rental prices boosted by COVID- 19, these older Airbnb units tend to be more expensive than typical apartments, “up to 11.6% more than average market rents,” the report says.

The news doesn’t bode well for the tourism industry either, although things will certainly pick up speed again once we can all start traveling again – which will likely end up changing the data on Airbnb listings. in the city.

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