London city committee endorses plan to seek regulations for short-term rentals

The City of London is discussing possible regulations around short-term rentals.
The City of London is discussing possible regulations around short-term rentals. Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Regulations on short-term rentals may soon be on the way for the City of London.

During its meeting on Tuesday, the city’s community and protective services committee endorsed a plan to have city staff seek regulations on accommodations made through platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway.

READ MORE: London councillor wants city to review regulations for short-term rentals

The plan was put forth by Ward 9 Coun. Anna Hopkins, who noticed a probe into potential regulations had been dropped from the committee’s deferred matters list in January 2019.

“I’ve started to receive a number of concerns in my ward … I’ve spoken to other councillors that are experiencing the same concerns regarding short-term accommodations,” Hopkins said.

The Ward 9 councillor said short-term rentals are changing communities, taking away homes amid London’s housing crisis and can lead to large parties.

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One after-graduation party in June reportedly caused $80,000 in damage to a south London home rented through Airbnb.

The source of the concerns, Hopkins said, are rentals arranged at homes that are not owner-occupied.

“There’s no one really there to make sure that the concerns in the neighbourhood are being met, other than just calling the police.”

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Ward 12 Coun. Elizabeth Peloza said she has also been receiving emails about the issue.

“Our residents are concerned about civic pride, taking care of your neighbourhoods, and some of these places don’t have the grass being tended to [or] the garbage being taken out … it’s just people popping up for the weekend, taking over the neighbourhood, and they’re gone,” Peloza said.

READ MORE: Wild student party at rented home causes $80K damage

Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis said he shares Hopkins’ concern about how the short-term rentals may play into London’s housing situation.

“It’s unfairly driving people out of the housing market to the profit of somebody who’s not a resident in London,” Lewis said.

“A number of these owners don’t live in the community … and they’re simply profiting from a property here in London.”

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While Peloza supported the motion from Hopkins, she expressed concerns about oversimplifying the issue.

“I heard from the other side, too, of people looking out to do short-term rentals because they need to supplement their income, or some seniors might be lonely and it would be beneficial to have someone with them,” Peloza said.

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“[Those are] the conversations we need to be having with our housing in the city.”
Vancouver cracks down on 820 illegal short-term rentals
Vancouver cracks down on 820 illegal short-term rentals

Calgary and Vancouver are among a number of Canadian cities that have already imposed regulations on rentals arranged through Airbnb.

Part of the plan endorsed by London’s community and protective services committee would have city staff look into how other municipalities handle short-term rentals to see if similar regulations can be brought back to London.

The motion from Hopkins garnered unanimous support at the committee level and awaits next week’s city council meeting before a final decision can be made.