Hamilton set to allow Airbnb-style rentals from June

Hamilton is about to start Licence Airbnb-style short-term rentals by June — and ban them altogether outside of a landlord or renter’s primary residence.

The new rules – under discussion since 2017 and similar to a new regulation in Toronto – aim to make long-term rental apartments desperately needed in the Hamilton market and address short-term rental complaints about safety, noise and even the so-calledparty hotels.”

If ratified by council next week, the settlement will introduce new licensing, registration and inspection requirements – as well as fees – and prevent would-be operators from legally offering short-term rentals in houses in which they do not live.

“It’s about trying all the levers at our disposal to try to generate more long-term rental market units …because we are in this (housing) crisis,” planning committee chair Maureen Wilson said on Tuesday.

But councilors at that meeting listened to calls from a dozen or more landlords who showed up Tuesday asking the city to allow short-term rentals in basement apartments or other separate units. in their homes.

Committee members also voted to remove a proposed annual “cap” on the number of days you can rent out your home for short stays. The Council still has to ratify the decision next week.

Norah McIntyre told advisers she sees both sides of the debate.

The beach strip owner said she supports the city’s plan to crack down on ‘out-of-town investors’ who she has seen ‘take over’ entire homes in her neighborhood for use as short-stay hotels – without living on the property.

In an interview, McIntyre said these absentee homeowners don’t necessarily care about litter or noise issues. It’s not “true neighbours” who are available to address concerns, she argued. “It’s dysfunctional,” McIntyre said. “I’m losing my sense of community.”

At the same time, the retiree said the city’s original settlement proposal would have “punished” her for trying to supplement her pension by periodically renting out a small, separate suite in her home through Airbnb. “We are counting on this additional income,” she said.

Bob Tyrell also told The Spectator that he uses Airbnb to rent out the basement of his west Hamilton home to cover the ever-increasing cost of living on a fixed income — “and because it’s fun to meet new people”. But the 84-year-old said he couldn’t handle the hassle of being a full-time landlord and appreciates the “security” of a third party, Airbnb, which vets potential short-stay tenants.

The two owners were among about 40 people who submitted letters, spoke in person or virtually to the committee on Tuesday.

Adam Wayland of the new Association of Short-Term Rental Hosts of Ontario called the proposed bylaw “over-regulation” and called on the city to focus licensing on enforcing safety and nuisance rules. .

“We want fire licenses and inspections…we want safe spaces,” he said. But Wayland urged the city to “penalize the people (who) need to be penalized” rather than block the hosts from operating in Hamilton.

Emily Power, on the other hand, urged councilors to support the staff’s initial proposal, which she says could help put hundreds of apartments back on the long-term rental market.

Power, who started Tenant Power Research Collectivesaid there are more than 1,300 “active” short-stay listings in Hamilton and the majority of them appear to be for entire homes with two or more bedrooms.

She said this trend has eaten up a worrying percentage of rental housing stock, especially in areas like Beasley, Kirkendall, Crown Point and the Beach Strip.

Councilors eventually approved a council “compromise” motion. John-Paul Danko to allow short-term rentals in an owner’s accessory unit, as long as it is on that person’s “primary residence” property. They also dropped a proposed 120-day limit on rentals per year – although the debate could be resurrected in council.

If the council approves the settlement, potential operators would have until June to obtain a licence. Failure to do so will eventually lead to fines – but these have yet to be set.

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