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Questions emerge about Airbnb for residential real estate owners

For many home owners, Airbnb offers a convenient way to make rental income from travelers. However, Alberta hotels have raised concerns over the unfair competition presented by the platform. The government is currently looking into the situation and may be applying rules to residential real estate owners who rent out their homes, apartments or rooms online.

Airbnb is not the only thing affecting hotel owners, as economic factors and a high number of hotels in Alberta have contributed to high vacancy rates across the province. An Airbnb spokesperson argues that hotels should look at revising their own business model rather than blaming home-sharers for the change in sales. However, the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association says that Airbnb has an unfair advantage due to lower health and safety standards. They also say that people purchase residential real estate to live in are frustrated with the noise and parking problems that can come with an Airbnb house next door.

The Alberta government is currently discussing possible changes and additions to deal with this fast-growing new industry. Suggestions include requiring a business licence and charging a tourism levy to people who rent out whole homes and apartment on Airbnb. A report shows that 3,000 Airbnb units were available in Calgary in 2016. Total revenues reached $11 million in the area.

Many people who purchase residential real estate in Alberta intend to rent some or all of the space at one point or another. Airbnb is a popular choice for these home buyers, although they should pay close attention to possible future legislation. Those who wish to better understand the legal requirements to rent out all or part of a home should contact a lawyer, especially if they are new to such investments in the province.

Source: Calgary Herald, "As Airbnb popularity soars, Alberta hotels step up calls for government regulation", Reid Southwick, Sept. 29, 2017

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