Fairbnb.ca: Condo tower’s deal with Airbnb is “rezoning by stealth,” makes tower a hotel now


Fairbnb.ca: Condo tower’s deal with Airbnb is “rezoning by stealth,” makes tower a hotel now

If you want to stop housing residents and start being a hotel, start paying commercial tax rates, coalition says

(Toronto) Today, Airbnb now acting like a multinational ghost hotel broker, announced that it had cut a deal with the board at Neptune Condominiums (at 209 and 215 Fort York Road) in Toronto to offer insurance, security checks and other services in exchange for an effective monopoly in short-term rentals in the tower.

Fairbnb.ca is Canada’s coalition for the fair regulation of short-term rentals, uniting housing activists, condo board leaders and hotel sector workers in Vancouver and Toronto. Coalition spokesperson Thorben Wieditz called today’s condo deal announcement “further proof that Airbnb is in the business of turning housing developments into hotel developments, even in cities with dangerously tight housing markets for long-term residents.”

“This is rezoning by stealth, and it’s time for cities to start enforcing the laws we already have on the books to prevent it,” Wieditz said. He noted that based on a measurement of rooms available, Airbnb is already the largest hotel operator in many Canadian cities, even though it does not require its “hosts” to abide by local zoning rules, tax rules or other legal obligations faced by conventional hoteliers. The majority of Airbnb’s ghost hotel inventory can be found in Toronto’s waterfront districts, with more than 80% of rentals being offered as entire homes, and close to 50% of these run by absentee landlords and investors, according to Lis Pimentel, chair of the Fairbnb.ca coalition. “If folks want to be a hotel, be a hotel, but be prepared to pay the price,” Pimentel says.

Fairbnb.ca called on the City of Toronto to initiate a full rezoning process for any condo tower seeking to sign such a deal, and to enforce full commercial tax rates on any commercial homesharing units within such towers. Commercial property taxes are often several times higher than residential tax rates on a particular property. Wieditz noted that Toronto would not be alone if it took that approach, since tax assessors in San Francisco – the city where Airbnb was founded and is still headquartered – have done the same.

For more information, please contact:

  • Thorben Wieditz at 647-409-8997 or fairbnb@fairbnb.ca
  • @fairbnbcanada on Twitter
  • Fairbnbcanada on Facebook


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