Halifax adopts new regulations for short-term rentals

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Halifax adopts new regulations for short-term rentals

Halifax is moving forward with its regulations surrounding short-term rentals in its territory, even if it is not unanimous.

Owners of all short-term rental spaces will also be required to register with a provincial registry which will come into effect on April 1.

Dozens of people took the floor to share their expectations and concerns about the proposed changes to municipal bylaws during a public hearing on Tuesday evening.

Several have raised the need to convert one's homes or dwellings into long-term rentals to help alleviate the housing crisis.

Those in favor of the regulation say the registry will make it easier to know who to contact in the event of a noise and litter problem, especially in buildings where there are many short-term tenants.

Brendan Smith lives in a building in Dartmouth where he says he is the only long-term tenant. He believes the situation is eroding community feeling.

It looks more like a resort than an apartment building, he shared on Tuesday.

I know that my own housing situation is precarious, because my housing could be considered more lucrative if it also turned into an Airbnb.

The supply of short-term rentals in Halifax has more than doubled in recent years.

Some of the landlords who rent out spaces on platforms like Airbnb or VRBO said yesterday that they have no plans to turn those spaces into long-term rentals.

They say the rule changes will likely hurt their livelihood and in some cases even their ability to make their mortgage payment.

Businessman Adam Conter says consider owners who have entered this industry.

If homeowners are affected to the point where they can no longer pay their mortgage, they could lose their homes, he warned. Eventually, the city could jeopardize the very families it is trying to help.

There are over 3,000 short-term housing units in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Most are whole house rentals and some owners say they would not necessarily be affordable housing even if converted for long term rentals.

The regional council has passed the bylaws, but they won't go into effect until September 1.

This way, landlords have more time to adapt and the city can better understand where short-term rental spaces are located once the provincial AirbnB registry goes into effect on April 1.

With information from Haley Ryan from CBC

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