November 15th, 2019

Regulating commercial short-term rentals could return 700 housing units to the long-term market

HALIFAX- New research, presented yesterday in Halifax, confirms that commercial short-term rentals, such as AirBnB, are negatively impacting rental housing in Nova Scotia.

“This government is not acting fast enough to regulate short-term rentals, and not acting in a way that would protect renters. Profits from commercial uses of platforms like AirBnB are concentrating in the hands of a few owners, while the availability of affordable housing in Nova Scotia is decreasing,” said Lisa Roberts, NDP Housing Spokesperson. “The government needs to step in and prevent commercial operators from further destabilizing the housing market.”

The research, conducted by the Urban Politics and Governance research group at McGill University, estimates a 38 per cent increase in housing loss from short term rentals in the last 12 months in the HRM. Forty-one per cent of the active listings are being operated commercially, by hosts who own multiple properties. The top ten per cent of hosts earned 55 per cent of all revenue generated by short-term rentals.

“The concern is not about people who rent out a room or flat in their home, which is what platforms like AirBnB were designed to facilitate. The issue is commercial players that own a large number of units which they rent out as short-term rentals,” said Roberts. “This is hurting people in our community who are struggling to afford a good place to live. Action is required now.”

The NDP introduced legislation to regulate commercial short-term rentals earlier this fall. The NDP has also been calling for rent control to be re-established in Nova Scotia, and most recently introduced a bill to do so in 2018.