Airbnb hosts made their pitch to the City of Saskatoon’s planning, development and community services committee on Tuesday as local officials determine how they plan to regulate short-term rental properties.
A report by city staff laid out three options.
The first would be to allow short-term rentals in a host’s primary residence while restricting secondary properties.
The second would allow both but would require them to have commercial business licences.
The third would see business licences needed in all circumstances unless a primary residence was only allowing one or two guests at a time.
Three local Airbnb hosts said they don’t have a problem with regulations, but want the city to allow competition through the sharing economy.
“(Visitors) are not going to come to something that is run down. They’re not going to stay at something that isn’t clean. They’re not going to stay at something that isn’t completely decorated and to their standards,” Alisa Thompson said.
The Saskatchewan Hotel & Hospitality Association is concerned by hosts who rent out entire properties on a large scale.
“We do believe that those who operate commercial accommodation businesses should be subject to the same taxes and regulations as hotels. Saskatoon legislation needs to level the playing field and keep pace with the new realities of the sharing economy,” the organization’s president and CEO Jim Bence said in an email to Global News.
Several other Canadian cities and provinces have started or are looking to regulate short-term rental properties.
Ottawa is also set to implement a bylaw regulating the sector.
A final report, which will look more closely at the three options, is expected to be presented in front of Saskatoon’s committee soon.
The report added there are more than 600 active short-term accommodations in the city with only 15 of them licensed under the current bylaws.