Short-term rentals negatively impact housing
In a pre-COVID study, the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) found that short- term rentals (STRs), such as AirBnB and VRBO, have disrupted housing markets across Canada, as property owners forego long-term rentals for the much more lucrative STR. The study also found that many of the STRs were purchased by non-resident buyers, and that STRs are growing faster in rural areas and small towns. But the big issue here is the effect of STRs on long-term rentals. I found it ironic that the plan of action for the Sustainability and Strategic Tourism Master Plan was juxtaposed by coverage of the Speaker series “Food insecurity lives here”. In that article, the correlation between the lack of affordable long-term housing and food insecurity was writ large.
The Town of Blue Mountains has been controlling short-term rentals since 2008 with a formal bylaw, the latest iteration of which involves an administrative monetary penalty system, an interactive map to show currently licensed short-term rental units and new zoning amendments as well as a strident licensing system which manages property inspections and fire inspections. Many communities that are attractive tourist destinations are scrambling to come up with similar plans to regulate STRs. All of which comes with a hefty administrative cost.
As a community I think we have to think about whether we want to support long-term residents who live, work and pay taxes in the area, or spend money on licensing, regulating and managing the impact of short-term rentals.