Kitchener considers licensing Airbnb-type rentals
The City of Kitchener is considering licensing short-term rentals like Airbnbs and asking for feedback from both landlords and renters.
At The Laundry Rooms, a short-term rental company offering condo units in Kitchener, the CEO thinks it’s a good idea.
“I think regulation and licensing are probably inevitable, number one. But certainly a positive as far as we're concerned,” Matthew Opferkuch says.
The possible change comes as the city reviews its lodging house bylaw. The bylaw doesn’t currently cover short-term rentals, but could be expanded to.
Helen Fylactou, manager of licensing for the city, says right now, they’re looking for feedback from the public.
“What could we put in place that makes them feel safe and secure, have some consumer protection and can still work with the owners of the property, the neighbours and the residents residing in these,” Fylactou explains.
Short-term rental licensing could also cover accessory units like sheds or tiny homes, driveways, parking spots, pools and backyards.
The city is eyeing more protections.
“Licensed properties that are regularly inspected and are safe for the neighbouring properties add a level of security for the property owner and are safe for the people renting these properties,” Fylactou says.
While it’s too early to say what licensing would look like in Kitchener, in Waterloo licences are only needed for low-rise residential units like duplexes or townhomes.
The Laundry Rooms sees licensing as a benefit for high-rises too, and hopes it will weed out bad actors.
“We're hyper aware of things like human trafficking and we want nothing to do with that in our business, frankly,” Opferkuch says. “And I think it would be good if the city adopted similar strategies to avoid the pitfalls of short-term rentals.”
The city’s public feedback survey is open until June 6.
The hope is the input will lead to long-term benefits for short-term rentals.