Nova Scotia

North-end Halifax group to meet with community council over Airbnb concerns

A group formed in north-end Halifax that wants limits on Airbnbs in residential neighbourhoods says it's been contacted by homeowners with similar concerns about short-term rentals elsewhere in the city.

Group says it's been contacted by other homeowners in city worried about short-term rentals

The group Neighbours Speak Up was created after a property in Halifax's Hydrostone neighbourhood was turned into an Airbnb. (John MacDougall/Getty Images)

A group in north-end Halifax that wants limits on Airbnbs in residential neighbourhoods says it's been contacted by homeowners with similar concerns about short-term rentals elsewhere in the city.

Bill Stewart helped create Neighbours Speak Up after a property near his home in the Hydrostone area became an Airbnb.

"Living next to a short-term rental can be a challenge when it comes to guests' behaviour," said Stewart. "It can become a revolving door of people."

Stewart is scheduled to make a presentation to the Halifax West Community Council on Tuesday night.

Homeowners in south-end Halifax and Dartmouth have contacted his group's website with similar concerns, he said. The main problem is with properties where the owner is not the primary resident.

"We call them ghost hotels," said Stewart. "Those are the ones where you really see the potential for disruption."

Concern about housing availability

According to AirDNA, a company that compiles market information on short-term rentals, there are more than 1,800 Airbnbs in the Halifax region. Nearly three-quarters are entire homes, and about a third are available "full time."

Stewart is concerned that trend will also deplete the amount of housing available.

"Those are the ones that really hurt because they take up a property," said Stewart.

Both the provincial government and the Halifax Regional Municipality are considering new rules for Airbnbs.

In May, Coun. Lindell Smith, who represents the district of Halifax North, asked for a report, and said even those in the Airbnb industry are interested in some regulations.

The province plans to have an Airbnb registry up and running in 2020.

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