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New regulations in effect for Halifax short-term rentals

New regulations for short-term rentals came into effect in Halifax on Friday.

“Clear and concise guidelines is the best thing that we need,” says the president and CEO of Discover Halifax, Ross Jefferson.

Single room and entire unit rentals in residential zones are now only permitted if the owner lives in the home.

Renting basement apartments or backyard suites now must be done on a long-term base of 28 days or more.

The hope is that this move will bring more rental accommodations to the market.

Short-term rentals like Airbnbs in commercial zones are not affected.

“We needed this for the sake of the community and good community planning and the protection of neighbourhoods,” Jefferson says.

“Mostly they’re in line with other major urban markets,” adds Nathan Rotman, the regional lead for Airbnb.

He agrees with most of the regulations, but there are some aspects of the bylaw that he can’t support because he says they will hurt smaller communities.

“Over 70 per cent of Halifax is home to an Airbnb listing today that will not be allowed under the new rules, but have absolutely no hotel presence,” Rotman says. “When people stay in short-term rentals in neighbourhoods outside of the traditional downtown core, in any urban municipality, Halifax included, that brings the economic opportunity, that’s spending to different neighbourhoods.”

There is concern as well with the city. Patrick Sullivan from the Halifax Chamber of Commerce says during peak tourism season, accommodations of any kind can be hard to find.

“The issue is when we’re at capacity during the prime tourism season so during part of June, July and August and maybe September there’s a lot of people in Halifax and we do need the additional capacity, Sullivan says.”

“We also have restaurant and we have tour operators, all of those kinds of folks. They just want to see more people come to the city of Halifax and the more the better as far as they’re concerned.”

Anyone who operates a short or long-term rental now has to register that property with the city by April 2024.

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