Why Rejecting Airbnb in Toronto is Short-Sighted

Recently, landlords lost their case for Airbnb but is it only the landlords that have lost out here? Airbnb, much like Uber & Tesla is like any other market disrupter. And, yes, our knee-jerk reaction is to hate change, I’m usually guilty of that myself.  Except when we only want to stick to the status quo, we are missing out on other opportunities that exist because of our comfort.

In the case of Airbnb, not only does it provide short-term accommodations for those looking for a place to stay but it also provides an income or side-hustle for property owners. Some of those property owners are supplementing their income because they are under-employed or unable to find work elsewhere. Some property owners, like myself, are using it to support our retirement funds as we do not have pensions.

I understand that we have a long-term rental crisis, but this problem was not caused by Airbnb and the short-term rental market.

There are many landlords who’ve had bad experiences with their long-term tenants. Given that the Landlord Tenant Board rules are in favour of tenants, landlords have nowhere to turn, other than to consider the short-term rental market.

And before we toss short-term rental platforms like Airbnb to the curb, maybe we should follow the money to see what other industries benefit from helping short-term rental owners.

Many think that the short-term rentals have made it difficult for the long-term rental market but it’s equally important to look at the issues that drove real estate investors to this place; the extension of rent control and the stringent Landlord Tenant Board regulations would be a great place to start.

According to AirDna.co, there are nearly 17,000 units being rented on Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO in Toronto. Those 17,000 units require cleaning every couple of days, providing demand for cleaning services. Most Airbnbs have at least 2-3 sets of sheets, duvets and towels, which must be replaced almost yearly.  They are also purchasing kitchen supplies and other items from the likes of IKEA, Costco, Kitchen Stuff Plus, Structube and many other retailers. In addition, there are photographers and interior designers hired to create and capture the perfect spaces for guests. The property managers are also paid to manage these rentals.

There are many business spinoffs to companies and entrepreneurs that benefit from the short-term rental industry. The short-term rental market is helping to create and keep jobs across a few sectors.

Looking at one aspect of the short-term rental market and not examining the ancillary businesses which are contributing to our economy is short-sighted.

Of course, there will always be a few rough patches to determine how best to work with a disruptor. However, our economy is changing to more of a service-based economy, which we need. We should embrace change, not put it on brakes. Because we don’t really understand it, haven’t figured it out or are simply afraid of change.

Shouldn’t we allow homeowners to control what happens on their own property?

They are the ones covering the mortgage and paying the property taxes.