The City of Calgary says it hopes to roll out new business licence requirements for short-term rentals beginning next January after research into the market.
The research project, led by University of Calgary associate professor Lindsay Tedds, will look at Calgary’s short-term rental market. The city said the research is being conducted to find ways to reform regulations in response to a changing rental market.
The city also said the new regulations will help align the short-term rental market with council’s priorities, including those concerning affordable housing, downtown revitalization, tourism, social equity and land use planning.
The first phase of the research project is already underway and will help the city understand the nature of Calgary’s short-term rental market and understand local attitudes towards short-term rentals.
The city said enhanced business licence requirements for short-term rentals will be effective Jan. 1, 2024.
“The changes to the business licence requirements strengthen the accountability of short-term rental hosts and property owners, reduce negative impacts on the community and enhance the safety of guests,” said Sherri Zickefoose, communications planner with the City of Calgary.
“These changes reflect the city’s commitment to creating a fair and sustainable environment for all residents, visitors and businesses.”
This comes after the B.C. NDP government tabled new legislation on Monday in an effort to crack down on a massive increase in vacation rentals across the province. This may include listings on Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia and FlipKey.
Under the new rules, when passed, British Columbians will legally only be able to rent out a primary residence and one more additional secondary suite as a short-term rental.
The city’s response also comes after an October rent report suggests the average one-bedroom apartment in Calgary is around $1,730 a month, a 13.2 per cent year-over-year increase. The average two-bedroom apartment is $2,182 a month, a 13.6 per cent increase year-over-year.
A 2020 study published by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) suggests Airbnbs have disrupted housing markets across Canada, and the financial incentives of short-term rentals are leading to more long-term housing being converted into short-term ones.
Ward 2 Coun. Jennifer Wyness commended B.C.’s new legislation, saying it will address loopholes used by AirBnB and other vacation rental hosts to turn their units into short-term rentals.
She said short-term rentals already have an impact on Calgary’s rental market, which is becoming increasingly more competitive and expensive for renters.
“Our assumption is that (new units) will house families for a long time. We’re building long-term housing based on that assumption. This is why when we build hotels, we have hotel zoning and we look at it differently.,” Wyness told Global News on Monday.
“I don’t think we’re really paying attention to the impact (short-term rentals) are having on the affordability in Calgary. We have always been more affordable than other major cities in Canada, and when we think we are not following or having the same issues as all cities, that’s when we’re going to run into problems.”
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Wyness added out-of-province buyers and real estate speculators are driving the cost of housing in Calgary. She said the city should increase fees for those who want to turn their properties into short-term rentals or tax them as a commercial entity.
“We’ve already acknowledged that there is a greater demand for long-term housing, and when you have people who are trying to rent and competing and lining around the block to view a vacant apartment or house, those 10 (short-term) units may not seem like a lot, but they are,” she said.
“I think we need to start looking at it and taxing it as a commercial business. We’re still seeing neighbourhoods with Airbnb where strata approved that short-term rental, but the entire board is comprised of owners of short-term rentals. Long-term strata owners will have to take up space on that board to stop the entire building from turning into a housing hotel.
“Why are we paying for a study when this has already been studied? The CMHC has studied it. They have their results, and they said it impacts our housing market.”
— with files from Global News’ Richard Zussman and Amy Judd.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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