PEI

Short-term rental bylaw process being closely watched in Charlottetown

Both short-term rental operators and those fighting for tenants' rights will be watching the process of a new Charlottetown bylaw closely.

'We're really excited to see the city moving on the regulation of short-term rentals'

On Monday the city announced it will be making moves to regulate short-term rentals by writing a new bylaw, due in the fall. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Both short-term rental operators and those fighting for tenants' rights will be watching the process of a new Charlottetown bylaw closely.

On Monday the city announced it will be making moves to regulate short-term rentals by writing a new bylaw, due in the fall.

"We're really excited to see the city moving on the regulation of short-term rentals," said Hannah Gehrels, who is part of the P.E.I. Fight for Affordable Housing group. 

Gehrels said her group will be heavily involved in the public consultation process the city has planned and will be looking for some specific regulations. 

'It's no longer just about home sharing'

"We would like to see that ... short-term rentals are regulated to owner-occupied only," she said.

"So, this regulation that is taking place in other cities like Vancouver, recently in Toronto and we think it should be done here as well."

Vancouver requires all short-term rental hosts to get a business licence, and they can only post a property if it's their primary residence.

Hannah Gehrels says the P.E.I. Fight for Affordable Housing group will be very involved in the public consultation process the city has planned. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

"One person has more than one listing and so it's no longer just about home sharing. And it is affecting our housing price. It is affecting our vacancy rate and rental prices."

Gehrels would also like to ensure that all public consultation meetings are accessible for tenants to attend, and that the city has specific marketing to ensure that happens. 

One operator in the city will also be paying close attention.

'If they're doing commercial business … they should treat them differently'

Steven Godkin runs his short-term rental as a commercial entity, and hopes the city will see there are differences depending on where the rental is located.

"We are in an area that has a hotel behind us, a hotel in front of us, [bed and breakfast] around the corner and hostel," he said.

"So, I think they need to look at regulating an area like this much differently than a residential area."

Steven Godkin runs his short-term rental as a commercial entity, and hopes the city will see there are differences depending on where the rental is located. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

Godkin said taxes are another thing on his mind. 

"We operate this as a commercial enterprise so we are zoned commercially, we pay commercial property tax. It's owned by a corporation," he said.

"In a residential area certainly if they're doing commercial business then yes they should treat them differently. And if you're going to be in a residential area, you know, I think having to live in the house while people are staying is not a bad idea."

The public consultations will begin with a survey due out in the next two weeks and move on to public meetings in June.

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