Airbnb Canada insists most people who post listings on their site are occasional hosts who use the service to help make ends meet, despite some critics' concerns about the site's effect on long-term housing stock.

The company, which calls itself a homesharing service, says the average Canadian on Airbnb rents out their place for four to five nights every month, earning about $4,000 to $5,000 a year.

"The vast majority of Airbnb listings in the world are in people's principal residences," said Aaron Zifkin, country manager of Airbnb in Canada.

He insists that for most people, listing a place on Airbnb is not a commercial activity.

"These are people who are renting out their homes or a room in their homes on an occasional basis."

Some studies suggest there are up to 4,000 Airbnb listings in Vancouver, many of which are for entire properties.

'Sensible regulations'

Vancouver city councillor Geoff Meggs is calling for better regulation of Airbnb, including possible licensing, due to concerns that listings are cutting into Vancouver's already low housing stock.

Zifkin says Airbnb is aware of the challenges Vancouver faces.

"We want to ensure that the cities we are participating in, that we're not affecting the shortage of long-term housing."

In fact, Airbnb will work with cities to update their regulations to reflect current technology.

"We're committed to working with cities to create sensible regulations that are really simple and clear to understand so that people can take on this occasional activity and understand what their obligations are."

Sharing data

Meggs says he wants to see data from Airbnb to inform city staff as they look into how to better regulate the short-term rental industry.

Zifkin says the company has no problem with that.

"We're going to be really transparent with our data to help these cities and work very closely with them to understand what kind of activity is happening."

The conversation about Airbnb is heading in the right direction he said.

"The conversations are still early days. But we're excited to be working very collaboratively with the city," he said.

"There isn't a silver bullet, a one size fits all solution for regulatory reform in these cities. The reality is it just takes time to have these conversations."

With files from CBC Radio's The Early Edition


To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: Airbnb Canada agrees on need for new regulations and data sharing.