Airbnb and Short-Term Rentals Banned During Pandemic
This week, the Ontario Government temporarily banned Airbnb and other short-term rental companies from operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Short-rental companies are now classified as “non-essential” businesses under the province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Hosts are only permitted to operate if they are providing emergency housing to those in need during this period.
Residents can report a violation by calling 311 with a complaint, where it will be processed by the City’s dedicated COVID-19 enforcement team, to be addressed as a priority along with investigating all reports of non-essential businesses that may be operating.
For three years, I have been pushing for Airbnb and other short-term rental companies to follow the rules that were approved by City Council in 2017. I have spoken about the impact that short-term rentals have had on our rental housing market, and on community safety and cohesion due to the rise of ghost hotels. After the tragic shooting at 85 Queens Wharf Road earlier this year, I once again called on Airbnb to immediately remove the over 9,000 listings on their platform that continue to violate the City’s regulations.
City staff will implement licensing and enforcement mechanisms for Airbnb and other short-term rental companies, beyond this current period.
I will provide further updates as more information becomes available.