Many Canadians, especially those living in the country’s most expensive property markets, want to see their local government regulate short-term rentals like those provided by Airbnb, according to a new Angus Reid Institute poll.
About 45 per cent of the 2,501 Canadians surveyed online in February said they support placing limits on short-term rentals that are not primary residences, while 26 per cent said they were opposed to it. The remaining 30 per cent said they were unsure about the matter.
Residents in major cities where house and rental prices have soared in the last few years were most in favour of regulating short-term rentals.
Sixty-six per cent of Vancouver residents said they wanted Airbnb to be regulated in the same way as hotels, compared to 49 per cent in the rest of British Columbia. Greater Toronto and Montreal residents in favour of regulating Airbnb came in 56 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.
“This support for regulation comes as Canadians have grown significantly more familiar with Airbnb over the last two years,” the report said.
It also noted when the Angus Reid Institute asked about the company in 2016, nearly four-in-ten (38 per cent) said they had never heard of it, and only 5 per cent had ever used the service.
Now, only 13 per cent of those surveyed said they had never heard of Airbnb, while the number of those who have used it has more than doubled, according to the poll.
The findings come after Toronto and Vancouver passed laws last year aimed at limiting the proportion of houses being used for short-term rentals, because of the strain it was putting on local housing markets as it took properties out of the long-term rental market and pushed up rent prices.
Earlier this month, Airbnb came to an agreement with the city of Vancouver to enforce new rules for short-term rentals, which banned all secondary homes from being listed on the service.