City of Toronto's Short Term Rental Data Is Publicly Available
For condominium corporations in Toronto who struggle with identifying which particular units are being listed on short-term rental (“STR”) through websites such as Airbnb, the City of Toronto has a publicly-available tool that might assist with STR enforcement.
Previously, because most STR websites do not specify the particular unit’s address on the listing, condo corporations often had to rely on the photos of the STR unit in the listing to try and determine which unit it was. There was at least one business that tried to meet the industry’s need for the identification of STR units, by using an algorithm to pinpoint the particular unit that was listed for STR.
With the passage of the City of Toronto’s short-term rental By-law, a STR operator in Toronto must register with the City of Toronto, remit 6% municipal accommodation tax, and can only rent out a part of their own principal residence.
Although there is some concern about the City’s Municipal Licensing and Standards department failing to adequately enforce these municipal restrictions, the City’s public posting of the STR data that it has collected can be helpful to the efforts by condo corporations to enforce their own governing documents’ restrictions against STRs.
In the City of Toronto’s open data portal, the City has made available online to the public – for free – the municipal addresses of the active STR registrations that have been filed with the City. This data is downloadable into Excel-readable format, and is refreshed daily.
The City’s open data provides the specific unit number of a registered STR unit – which is helpful for pinpointing a condo corporation’s reasonable enforcement efforts against a particular unit owner and/or resident. This pinpoint data can also help a condo corporation where STRs might be allowed on certain floors but not others, determine if enforcement is even necessary in the first place.
A condo corporation’s Board or Manager who is concerned about STRs operating in their building might want to download the City of Toronto’s STR data in an Excel-readable format, and use the Search function to look for the condo corporation’s municipal address(es). If there are STRs listed in contravention of the condo corporation’s Declaration, By-laws, or Rules, then the Board should review and consult with the condominium’s legal counsel if necessary to explore potential enforcement measures.
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All of the information contained in this article is of a general nature for informational purposes only and is not intended to represent the definitive opinion of the firm of Elia Associates on any particular matter. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this article is accurate and up-to-date, the reader should not act upon it without obtaining appropriate professional advice and assistance.