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City council to vote on changes to short-term rentals

Last Updated Sep 10, 2019 at 9:50 am MDT

A Calgary home is listed on Airbnb during the Calgary Stampede in July 2019 (CREDIT: CityNews)

The recommendations look at creating a business license for short-term rentals and increasing safety measures

The city held a survey where 81 per cent of rental owners provided their feedback

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – If you’re looking to rent out your space through companies like Airbnb, be aware of possible changes coming from city council this week.

On Monday, councillors were given proposals for new regulations on short-term rental units in Calgary.

The biggest recommendation would require operators of these units to have a business license. Councillor Ward Sutherland agrees with this change.

“It is very simplistic and it’s a low fee to ensure that we can move forward and deal with everybody fairly.”

Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell also agrees with the recommendation saying many already run their rental units as businesses.

She said short-term rentals are causing concern for apartment and condo owners.

“There are some multi-family apartments in my ward where the whole floor is short-term rentals except for maybe one unit. It’s pretty hard to develop neighbourhood connection when there’s so much transience. I think we need to achieve a balance and mitigate some of the negative impacts.”

In May 2019, the city held a survey to gather feedback on how short-term rentals should operate in Calgary. The majority of those who responded say requirements like fire extinguishers, escape plans and emergency contacts should be mandatory.

About 42 per cent agree with having a low-fee option under the proposed tiered license system.


Sutherland says they’re two main reasons why they’re looking at these changes.

“One is to make it safe for anyone who is using a short-term rental. The second one is simplistic, where we have the ability to deal with problems. In all these short-term rentals, we don’t have the authority to take action.”

Farell adds these regulations not only help the short-term rental market but the overall economy of the city.

She said other communities have been negatively affected by these rentals.

“We’re seeing this in other cities of really limiting the amount of rental accommodation that’s available for full-time residents. It pushes the price up. It can also hurt the hotel industry. It’s that fine balance that we’re trying to achieve.”

Councillors will vote on the recommendations on Wednesday.

With files from CityNews