Rules on short-term rentals up for debate at Edmonton city hall

Property owners advertising on home-sharing services like Airbnb may face new rules if city councillors agree to amend the city’s business licence bylaw, up for debate Tuesday. 

Council’s urban planning committee is scheduled to review proposed changes to the bylaw, including one that would require short-term rental landlords to include their business licence number when advertising. 

Coun. Aaron Paquette thinks it’s a good way to give city staff another tool to monitor short-term rental hosts and make sure they’re complying with the rules.

“Display the business license and that way we know we can track to see if there are disruptions, if there’s behaviour issues,” Paquette said.  “We can actually then go and deal with the issue because we’ll know who it is, and part of that may be even revoking the business licence.” 

Short-term rental hosts have been required to get a business licence since last August, when council included this activity in the business bylaw. 

According to a report, the new proposed amendment would enhance the city’s ability to ensure landlords comply with the regulations.

Noise, parking, bullying

Coun. Tim Cartmell knows of at least four problem properties in his southwest Ward 9. He has heard a range of complaints including excessive noise, parking problems, tense interactions between guests and neighbours, and even bullying and intimidation. 

When the host isn’t on site, there can be more problems, he said.

“It’s left to the neighbouring property owners to call the police or complain to bylaw, or try to resolve the issue in the moment and I don’t think that’s fair.”

As of May 2019, nearly 2,150 short-term rental properties were identified in the city. 

Of these, 63 per cent are entire home rentals, where the property is for the exclusive use of guests. 

Cartmell plans to support the proposed bylaw but will introduce a motion asking the city to look into developing a permit process for whole unit rentals for 25 days or less.

He said neither the current business licence bylaw nor the proposed amendment addresses entire homes being rented for short-term stays. 

“It does not apply any kind of regulation or licensing or anything at all really to the whole home rental and I think that’s missing.” 

Airbnb representatives are expected to attend the meeting on Tuesday. 


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