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Halifax neighbours group applauds move to regulate short-term rentals

Neighbours Speak Up says it is encouraged council voted nearly unanimously to have staff begin amending planning rules
airbnb1
A photo capture of some current short-term rental listings available in Halifax.

North-end Halifax group Neighbours Speak Up says it's encouraged by the municipality moving ahead with developing regulations for short-term rentals. 

On Wednesday, regional council voted nearly unanimously to have staff begin amending planning rules for short-term rentals like Airbnb. 

Bill Stewart, a spokesperson for the group, tells News 95.7's the Rick Howe Show it appears areas the group highlighted as major concerns will be addressed. 

"They are focusing on areas like requiring all short-term rentals to register, and not just those that are commercial but ones that are operated by primary residents as well," he says. 

"The other very important thing is that within residential zones, only short-term rentals operated by primary residents will be permitted as opposed to having what some people call ghost hotels," he says. 

A staff report that came to council on Wednesday, detailed the results of a resident survey that took place this past November. Nearly 4,000 residents participated in the online questionnaire regarding short-term rentals. 

"It was a great study," Stewart says. "Most of the respondents whether they be owners, residents, or others felt there needed to be some kind of regulation to bring some control over the situation."

The five items respondents ranked the most important were protecting the supply of traditional rentals, protecting the integrity of residential neighbourhoods, collecting appropriate taxes, requiring minimum standards, and collecting short-term rental host information (how many units rented, location etc.).

January marks two years since Neighbours Speak Up began their campaign to have short-term rentals regulated. 

Stewart says the group will continue to speak up until policies are officially in place. 

"What we are hearing here is real commitment and intent to go ahead," he says. "And in all sincerity, I was encouraged by what I heard from council."

According to the staff report, short-term rentals listed in Halifax increased from 959 in August 2016 to 2,581 in August 2019. 




Katie Hartai

About the Author: Katie Hartai

In addition to being a reporter for NEWS 95.7 and HalifaxToday.ca, Katie is the producer of The Rick Howe Show
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