PEI

'Awfully easy' to blame short-term rentals for housing problems

A Charlottetown man is asking people to carefully consider any changes to regulations for short-term rentals such as Airbnb and VRBO.

Short-term rentals bring economic benefits, says Mark Belfry

Short-term rental services such as Airbnb have been implicated in a housing shortage in Charlottetown. (John MacDougall/Getty Images)

A Charlottetown man is asking people to carefully consider any changes to regulations for short-term rentals such as Airbnb and VRBO.

A report from Statistics Canada last week suggested dramatic growth in the short-term rental industry on P.E.I., and some have blamed short-term rentals for contributing to a housing shortage in Charlottetown.

Mark Belfry has a small house in Charlottetown he rents monthly eight months a year, and short-term the other four. He's worried recent concerns will lead to regulations that will kill short-term rentals in the city.

"It's awfully easy to say 'that's an Airbnb, that's the problem,' and point a finger without really understanding what we're talking about," said Belfry.

Belfry is not entirely opposed to regulation.

"It's registered with Tourism PEI. They inspect it annually which all short-term rentals should be," said Belfry.

"We appreciate the inspector. They bring value to us."

'Don't write that off'

He said it's important to remember the economic benefit that short-term rentals are bringing to the city.

Short-term rental tenants, he said, are spreading their money around the economy, eating out, going out to shows, going to the laundromat and liquor store.

"Don't write that off," he said.

"There has to be some balance. … If you are going to set a limit you need to remember the important economic benefit to the city and balance that against the impact on the housing market."

Belfry said he believes getting rid of short-term rentals will hurt more than it helps.

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With files from Island Morning

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