Toronto tech community signs open letter to city council urging “fair, equitable” rules on Airbnb


Toronto city council is set to vote on regulations on short-term home rentals like Airbnb tomorrow, and members of the Toronto tech community are among signatures in an open letter to city council from Airbnb.

Published in The Toronto Star, the letter encourages city council to “create fair, straightforward, and equitable rules” for Airbnb. Signatories include Wattpad CEO Allen Lau, CEO Daniel Debow, and SoapBox COO Jessica Weisz.

“The new economy is challenging old ways of doing things. Toronto must maintain its reputation as a global centre of innovation by embracing new ideas,” the letter reads.

In November, city council began reviewing proposed legislation on zoning and licensing of short-term rental services in the city. The amendments included that only the ‘principal resident’ of a dwelling — house, apartment, townhouse — will be able to list that residence as a short-term rental, and that short-term rental operators register with the city annually.

Airbnb hosts renting out up to three bedrooms for an unlimited period, or their whole home for up to 180 nights per year, would pay the city $50 per year. Short-term booking agencies would pay the city a $5,000 licence fee and $1 a night per booking and have policies to curb noisy, disruptive tenants, according to The Star.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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