Airbnb crackdown in Victoria

The Victoria city council is trying to restrict short term rentals.

Ironically when we moved to Victoria airbnb made the move much easier than moving to Toronto a few years before. With airbnb it was possible to search for various options and find a convenient 1 month rent.

In my previous move there was no airbnb. Despite Toronto being much bigger, there were fewer choices. There were no reviews on the choices and paying for it from outside Canada was inconvenient.

The airbnb that we rented for the move is a small basement in a house. Not the kind of space that would normally be used as a regular rental or bnb. We had a similar experience in Stratford. The convenience of airbnb does seem to create options that would simply not exist otherwise.

Airbnb is criticized for increasing the cost of long term rentals, which is likely true, but it also creates interesting subletting possibilities. In trips to Montreal and Vancouver we stayed in units that were clearly sublet. By crashing at a friend's place for a weekend a tenant can offset a substantial part of their rent.

But yes, in another trip we have stayed in a pretty conventional apartment that could have been otherwise rented long term. Even here it is important to discount the fact that a higher return on investment for landlords incentivizes the construction of more units. In the current construction boom in Toronto some of the buildings are bought mostly for investment. Not as many would have been built otherwise.

There is a fairness issue too. If when traveling to, for example, Montreal we can stay in a airbnb, it feels wrong to deny the same to Montrealers visiting Victoria.

Overall increasing the utilization of a scarce resource like space seems like a good thing, even if renters like myself get the short end of the stick.

The higher housing prices will also generate higher property taxes. The surplus could be given back to the community as income, but that would be another post.