The city of Charlottetown should restrict short-term rentals to primary residences, excluding apartments, according to a new report from the city’s Planning and Heritage Department.
The report, which will be submitted to city council and the planner for October meetings, said recent public consultations on the topic of STRs have shown that there is community consensus behind such a policy.
The number of STR private home listings in Charlottetown increased by 7.9% between September 2018 and the same period the following year. Housing advocates have long called for more regulations on short-term rentals, arguing they threaten the affordability of long-term housing in the city.
The report states that only 265 out of a total of 370 short-term rental listings in the city were recorded in PEI Tourism’s licensed registry database, meaning that more than half of listings in Charlottetown did did not comply with provincial legislation.
Tourism PEI’s issuance of tourist accommodation licenses without ever confirming their approval with the municipality has resulted in “both confusion and a proliferation” of non-compliant STRs in the city, the report continued.
The report recommended that a municipal STR registry linked to its provincial counterpart be established to ensure that the regulations of both jurisdictions are followed.
He said the city should consider implementing a bylaw to establish its own permit requirements, which would then be integrated into the provincial system.
He also suggested that a municipal licensing program could introduce annual licensing fees for STR platforms, require hosts to obtain building permits and be approved for occupancy, and grant specific exemptions to others. accommodation providers, such as hotels, motels and cabins.
The report states that a separate enforcement strategy for non-compliant STRs should be implemented and should involve the province to ensure that the regulations of both jurisdictions are followed.
A total of $ 8.5 million in revenue was collected collectively by 409 private hosts in 2019.
The richest 10% of web hosts earned 47% of all STR revenue, which the report said indicates an “increase in commercialization” of STR business.
He says marketed STRs, which are defined as lists of entire homes available for much of the year, pose the “greatest threat” to the reduction in long-term housing supply.
“This massive transition through the commercialization of long-term housing converted to short-term housing has affected availability and affordability in the form of gentrification of Charlottetown’s housing supply.
The report says the data indicates that the highest concentration of STR listings of non-primary residences is in the city center, but it also appears to be spreading to the suburbs.
He said the STR industry was only becoming more and more commercialized. In 2017, listings from primary residences represented 66.4% of all listings and 49.6% of all bookings, compared to 59.6% of listings and 40.9% of bookings in 2019.
He said that while COVID-19 has had an impact on Charlottetown’s STR industry and the tourism sector as a whole, rising vaccination rates along with pent-up demand for travel means demand for rentals will return. .
The report says that a monitoring program to study the state of the local STR industry should be put in place regardless of which regulatory framework the board decides to adopt.