AirBnB is something that has come up many times through comments received on the website and otherwise. Here’s an example of the type of questions we’ve been receiving on this issue.
Question: For several years I opened my place to guests as a licensed accommodation. This year I did not renew my business license for a number of reasons, but one of the things that drove me most to my decision to close was Airbnb.
The new Accommodation Levy only further drives home that I've made the right decision to step away from licensed accommodation. Reading about Airbnb on this website it indicates that the City is staying uncommitted to any regulation of Airbnb – and that they will be exempt from this few percent levy. Can you please clarify this position?
Answer to Issue #1 – Airbnb and the Accommodation Levy
There is a clear need for greater fairness in providing for licencing of all municipal providers of short-term accommodation and the collection and remittance of appropriate taxes and levies on the services provided by all short-term accommodation providers.
Municipalities all across Canada have been reviewing options to cost effectively regulate short term accommodation rentals. Strategies to regulate the short-term sector range from legislation banning all unlicensed short-term accommodation, to banning all rentals that are not also owner-occupied. Violators can be subject to substantial penalties with a first offence carrying a fine as high as $500.
Entire housing units may be rented short term only if they are also registered with the city and pay a higher registration fee than the individual room rental providers.
In some jurisdictions city governments have negotiated agreements with Airbnb to collect both sales taxes and accommodation taxes or levies and remit them through the municipality.
In Yellowknife as of July 31 there were 97 Airbnb listings. Tripping.com also had 31 listings and Hometogo had 61 listings. Not all of these listings are within Yellowknife city limits.
A first step in addressing fairness concerns about the regulation and licencing of currently unregistered short-term providers of accommodation would be to have the City of Yellowknife initiate a public review and ask for recommendations.