Short-term basement apartment rentals banned from Airbnb

Dec. 7, 2017

By Arianne Robinson

Starting July 2018, only homes that are the principal residence of a person – and not owned by a corporation – will be allowed for short-term rentals (less than 28 days at a time).

Basement apartments will no longer be allowed for short-term rental on Airbnb, unless it is exclusively and separately occupied as a principal residence.

This will mean a tenant can rent their unit for short periods (if permitted in the lease), but the homeowner will not be allowed – unless they convert the apartment suite into a room, which is not covered under the regulations announced in November.

“My analysis of this comes down to the fridge and the stove,” Councillor John Campbell said during the council debate. “These regulations… won’t prohibit people who have secondary suites from still Airbnbing them out if they can remove the facilities that make it by definition a secondary suite. You take out the fridge and the stove, and now what you’re doing, you’re renting out the room as per our regulations.”

Councillor Ana Bailão, one of three of Mayor John Tory’s unofficial deputy mayors, brought the motion to council that led to regulations – stronger than were originally brought forth by staff. “This is the first step… I think today we struck the right balance,” she said.

Tory supported the new regulations. “I think we have to do everything we responsibly can do for now, to say that right now if you look at the public interest and our job is to serve the overall public interest, it is in maintaining as much housing as possible for, I’ll call it permanent tenants, or tenants who are living there, as opposed to short term tenants, and I’m sorry that that means some people will be disappointed by that, but that’s our job,” Tory said.