Charlottetown to extend tourism levy to Airbnb operators

Renting accommodations out to tourists in Charlottetown could cost you more come June 1.

A bylaw amendment passed 1st reading Monday night.

Website rentals like Airbnb and VRBO would have to charge the levy. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Renting out accommodations to tourists in Charlottetown could cost you more come June 1.

On Monday night council passed the first reading of an amendment to the tourism accommodation levy bylaw, adding that the levy would apply to all tourism establishments, including those rented out through websites like Airbnb and VRBO.

The levy is a tax that added to the customer's bill, with the money going towards tourism marketing. It is currently set at three per cent on accommodations that run year round, with ten or more rooms, with some exceptions.

"The City of Charlottetown was recently approached by the tourism industry at large to impose a levy city-wide on all establishments no matter the size," said Wayne Long, events development officer for the city. 

If the proposed amendments pass second and third readings, as of June 1 the levy it will be imposed to all operators, no matter what the size.

More money for city

"If we look at today's tracking numbers, it will generate approximately another $250,000 annually." said Long.

Wayne Long, events development officer with the City of Charlottetown, says the new levy is worth about $250K annually. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

Airbnbs have recently been a hot topic in the city, with many blaming them for a housing shortage in the city.

Coun. Kevin Ramsay said this change isn't about housing, but about making pricing for accommodations fair across the board.

"Why should someone who have 15 rooms, pay a tax, when somebody (else) doesn't have to pay a tax," said Ramsay.

The amendment is expected to  receive second and third reading at the May council meeting.

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About the Author

Natalia Goodwin

Video Journalist

Natalia is a video journalist in P.E.I. She has also worked for CBC N.L.


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