Can Mississauga Residents Help Restrict Airbnb?

While Airbnb has been remarkably beneficial for a number of travelers seeking more affordable accommodations, it has caused headaches for condo boards, neighbours and municipal politicians.

Now, the city is reaching out to residents to gather their thoughts on this popular aspect of the emerging sharing economy.

Over the past few months, insauga.com has reported on Mississauga’s response to the growing use of Airbnb, a popular home-sharing app for people who want to earn some side income by renting their homes to short-term (often vacationing) tenants looking for temporary accommodations.

It is widely used in every corner of the globe, and Mississauga is no exception. Recently, a new precedent was set when a judge ruled that condo corporations can ban residents from listing their units on short-term rental services like Airbnb and Expedia.

At a previous Planning and Development Committee (PDC), Mississauga City Council began deliberating on measures to handle Airbnb rentals, also known as Short Term Accommodations (STAs). You can read the entire Corporate Report from the meeting here, specifically starting around page 65 where the report on STAs begins. The PDC meeting itself is shown here.

Statistics show that STAs are an issue that can no longer be ignored in Mississauga. Consider the following:

  • The city of Mississauga’s vacancy rate is only 1.7 per cent; that translates to very limited access to available housing options.

  • From May 2015 to May 2016, there was a 227 per cent increase in the usage of the various platforms selling STAs.

  • According to Airbnb, there are 525 active listings for STAs in Mississauga with only 300 hosts in the city, meaning there are multiple hosts with multiple listings.

  • There are at least 75 active vendors for STAs, but 90 per cent of STAs in Mississauga are through Airbnb.

  • Approximately 0.13 per cent of entire homes are being used as STAs in Mississauga.

  • The majority of STAs are located in Mississauga’s downtown core, with locations in Streetsville and Meadowvale coming in a close second.

With Airbnb thriving in the city and providing both a homey refuge for travelers and a potential party haven for less considerate visitors, the city is putting a question to residents:

Are short-term accommodations good or bad for Mississauga?

To gather answers, the city asking residents to share their thoughts on short-term accommodations by taking a survey.

The survey has been a long time coming, as council directed that city staff examine the issue back in June 8, 2016. According to the city, staff has consulted with stakeholders including the Mississauga Real Estate Board, Mississauga Landlord and Tenant associations and members of the tourism industry to develop what appropriate by-laws—if any—to address the situation.

Now, city staff are proposing a range of changes to the zoning by-law that would, ideally, help regulate STAs in Mississauga:

  • establish a registry or licensing program

  • permit short-term accommodations in detached, semi-detached, and street townhouse dwellings in principle private residences

  • limit the total number of days that a unit is rented per month or year

  • define short-term accommodations for regulatory purposes

  • ensure adequate parking is available.

Public feedback received through the survey will be incorporated into a report with final recommendations on the future of short-term accommodations that City staff will present to Council later in 2017.

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