Top Airbnb Competitor Pulls Out of Toronto Due to City’s New Short-Term Rental Rules

Vrbo, the short-term vacation rental platform owned by travel giant Expedia Group, has announced that it is leaving Toronto for good.

Airbnb’s competitor that allowed users to book condos, cabins and beach houses has decided to exit the market thanks to the city’s crackdown on short-term rentals.

“After years of continuous discussions, Expedia Group is saddened that the regulatory environment in Toronto has prompted us to withdraw from the short-term vacation rental market,” said Philip Minardi, director of political communications at Expedia, in a statement to The logic.

Vrbo has hosted over 300 homes, condos, apartments and studios in Toronto. Short-term rentals have been temporarily banned for periods of 2020 due to the foreclosure.

The withdrawal of the company from the city makes Airbnb the only platform authorized to operate short-term rentals (STR) in Toronto.

In December, the city announced it was putting stricter rules in place for Airbnb operators, with enforcement action on January 1.

Airbnb hosts can now only rent their primary residences, meaning investment properties and ghost hotels are finally banned. Anyone wishing to use their main residence as a STR must register their property with the City.

The result was a flood of condo rentals that flooded the market during COVID-19, with rents dropping to record highs and staying there for months.

There have been calls for stricter regulations regarding STR platforms since 2017, with organizations like Fairbnb advocating for better regulations amid a housing crisis and tougher penalties for illegal listings.

A large number of Airbnb listings have been accused of repossessing condos in Toronto. Early last year, ICE Condos decided to ban Airbnb units from their building altogether.

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