City Administration Confirms Edmontonians Have Concerns Around Short-term Rentals, yet Fails to Make Meaningful Recommendations

EDMONTON, AB (August 15, 2019): The Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels (EDMH) responded to the City of Edmonton’s release of the administration recommendations on Bylaw 18942, to be discussed during the Urban Planning Committee on August 20th, regarding how to manage the impacts of short-term rentals (STRs) in Edmonton. 

While EDMH is delighted to see that this report corroborates the concerns we have heard from Edmontonians about short-term rentals, we are disappointed to see the lack of concrete and meaningful suggestions on how to address these concerns. 

“It is no surprise that public engagement by administration clearly shows that 75% of Edmontonians have concerns around short-term rentals, especially related to nuisance issues, neighbourhood disruption and safety. What is surprising however is that the recommendations put forward by administration fail to address any of those issues in a significant way,” said Executive Director of EDMH Karen Chalmers.

EDMH is of the opinion that commercial short-term rental operations (properties that are only used as rentals and not as a residence by the owner) are indeed businesses and should be treated as such. By failing to take this logical conclusion, city administration is unable to offer meaningful solutions to City Councillors. Instead, administration has put forward the basic requirement which is for STRs to acquire a business license, but in no way addresses commercial STR’s nor limits their ability to operate without regulations in residential zones.  

City Administration also seems to be downplaying the impact that STRs have on traditional accommodation providers. While it acknowledges that the industry has ‘raised concerns’ about the disparity between levels of inspection and the application of the provincial tourism levy, it makes not effort to propose a meaningful solution to this disparity.  

“It’s a laudable first step in Council’s creation of a full strategy that responds to and addresses this new accommodation sector” said Chalmers.  “We look forward to supporting their efforts in ensuring safeguards that welcome guests to our city in safety and security, while being accountable and respectful of the neighbourhoods where they operate.”