New rules on the horizon for Airbnb hosts in Hamilton

The city aims to reduce neighborhood complaints and protect housing market regulating short-term rentals in Hamilton.

Next week, advisers will consider a proposed licensing scheme that limits rentals on platforms like Airbnb to an operator’s main residence.

“Perfect. That would, I think, solve everyone’s problem,” says Phil Mason, who endured life next door to a five-bedroom “luxury guesthouse.”

The comings and goings next door led to strangers showing up late at night looking for parties at his Durand home, trash dumped in his yard and misdirected pizza deliveries.

But the problem was eventually resolved when a new owner bought the place and moved in about six months ago, said Mason, who said for the first time to the spectator about his short-term rental grief in 2019.

“We’ve been waiting,” he said Wednesday, noting that a neighboring property that had similar issues on the other side of his house also recently changed hands for the better.

A staff report before councilors on Tuesday also proposes limiting short-term rentals to 28 consecutive nights and no more than 120 per year.

Staff looked at other short-term rental approaches, including one in Toronto, where a licensing and registration regulation came into effect in January 2021 following a challenge in the Lands Tribunal. Ontario.

Typically, municipalities are adopting a “home-sharing” model that limits operators to a single unit in primary residences and prohibits commercial players with multiple listings, the staff report notes.

The aim is “to improve neighborhood suitability by ensuring personal accountability” and to protect the long-term housing stock by prohibiting short-term rentals in investment properties.

Before the pandemic, Hamilton had 898 active hosts in short-term rentals, 92% of whom posted on Airbnb, according to the staff report. These numbers “have been reduced” during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are expected to rebound.

The “typical” local host is 45 years old and rents space for less than three nights per booking. Of those advertised, 61% of listings are for entire houses or apartments, 38% are private rooms and 1% are shared rooms.

The staff report notes that enforcement would be “reactive” based on complaints, but also “proactive” with “periodic reviews” of online platforms.

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