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City of Calgary closer to implementing new rules for home-sharing services

WATCH: The City of Calgary is getting closer to implementing new rules for short-term rental services like Airbnb. Global’s Tomasia DaSilva explains why those rules are needed.

The City of Calgary is moving closer to regulating home-sharing services such as Airbnb.

A council committee will look at licence fees, fines and further regulations for short-term rentals at a meeting on Wednesday, after a year and a half of examining the best practices across Canada.

WATCH: New Airbnb rules coming to Calgary

Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland said Monday that as the home-sharing industry has grown, so have concerns from area residents.

“People were parking on lawns, bringing their boats and putting them in the middle of cul-de-sacs so people couldn’t get out,” Sutherland said of some of the complaints he’s received.

Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell also heard from a lot of her constituents — many of them are upset with what’s going on.

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“Some individuals are very poor stewards and they put their property out for party houses and other things,” she said.

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Farrell added that the home-sharing movement has evolved into something the city hadn’t really anticipated, and what started as someone simply renting out their own home has now turned into a business.

“One of my constituents — every unit on the floor of their multi-family [residence] is owned by somebody who is renting them out except for one unit,” she said. “It’s hard to build a neighbourhood.”
The Calgary Airbnb site has more than 4,000 listings.
The Calgary Airbnb site has more than 4,000 listings. Airbnb Calgary

As well as requiring business licences, another regulation will look at safety.

“Right now, you don’t have to have smoke detectors. It’s voluntary,” Sutherland said.

Both Sutherland and Farrell said the new rules will allow the city to enforce a lot of the contentious issues.

“We can pull their licence if they’re not good and responsible landlords,” Farrell added.

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Global News reached out to Airbnb to get its reaction to the proposed new rules. In a statement, it said: “We welcome the City of Calgary’s move toward regulating home-sharing and look forward to continuing to support the city through this new chapter of regulation.”

It also added there are current policies and procedures in place if a listing is not as expected.

READ MORE: Damages could hit $150,000 in Calgary home trashed by Airbnb renters

Lynn Eichmuller from Edmonton stayed at a Calgary Airbnb this past Easter and said those policies are not enough.

“It was very dirty when I first got there. There [were] cigarette butts all over the front yard,” Eichmuller said. “The floor was sticky when you got inside. It was one of those places where you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh. I don’t want to take my shoes off,'” she said.
An Airbnb client is calling for more regulations after she says her rental was littered with garbage.
An Airbnb client is calling for more regulations after she says her rental was littered with garbage. Courtesy: Lynn Eichmuller

Eichmuller added she would not likely stay at another short-term rental unless things change.

“I wouldn’t do that again,” she said. “Not unless I know that there are different rules.”

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She was also unhappy with the response she got when she reviewed the stay.

Airbnb couldn’t respond to her comments without knowing the full details of what happened, but a spokesperson said they are willing to look at her complaint.

The changes will go to council after the committee meets to discuss them. There is currently no date for when they will be implemented.