Burlington looks to bring short-term rentals like Airbnb under control


Published April 21, 2023 at 4:07 pm

airbnb controversy Burlington Ontario

Burlington is developing a plan that will put controls on how short-term accommodation (STA) units operate.

The expectation is that a compliance and licensing program will be adopted that applies uniformly across the city for STAs such as Airbnb.

STAs initially launched as properties rented out by homeowners for limited stays such as vacation homes for those who don’t want to live out of hotels.

Increasingly, however, STAs are under scrutiny by municipalities over questions of ownership and usage.

While the renting out of these houses provides a revenue stream for owners and encourages local tourism, critics say that left unregulated STAs can be a headache for neighbours when they are taken over by partiers who often leave a trail of noise and trash in their wake.

As well, there is a question of rotating ownership as speculators take much-needed homes off the market and sometimes skirt taxation with STA units.

While the City has certain jurisdiction over STAs under current rules, Burlington councillors believe increased controls are necessary.

“This is a complex issue that we don’t have the rules to enforce,” said Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith at a recent City planning committee meeting. “These (STAs) don’t belong in our neighbourhoods if operated like this.”

Galbraith pointed out that other municipalities have rules in place where the homeowner must live in the STA that is being rented out.

“That simple measure can really assist us with what is going on right now,” Galbraith continued. “We will end up with a lot more of these (STAs) if we don’t do something sooner instead of later.”

The plan the City hopes to come up with by the end of this year is a “made in Burlington” solution by forming a community task force that will help develop the compliance and licensing program.

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