People making money by renting out an extra room or more through homestay services like Airbnb will not be able to advertise or rent without a licence once regulations are in place, according to a City of Regina official.
Licensing requirements, along with in-person inspections of residences and a fire inspection requirement for secondary properties, were among the proposed regulations highlighted by Dawn Schikowski.
"The main concern that we've heard is equity, as well as inspections for health and safety," Schikowski, the city's manager of licensing and business support, told CBC News last Friday.
The City of Regina is currently researching short-term rental services and how to effectively regulate the industry.
A report to city hall will be tabled in the second fiscal quarter of 2020 and will detail proposals for aspects of regulation like taxation, bylaw enforcement, parking concerns and licence fees, among other legal considerations. The regulations won't come into effect until approved by city council.
With regard to the home inspections, city officers would need permission from the homeowner to inspect a home before it can be approved for licensing, Schikowski said.
As well, the city will have the power to suspend or revoke licences for problematic properties, she added. It would cost $50 to license a primary residence while secondary residence licences would be $225.
Potential penalties for scofflaws advertising without a licence, or refusal to remove a listing, include a $1,000 fine, plus the cost of a licence.
There are currently more than 300 homestays in Regina.
Those homestays made about $2.5 million in revenue in 2019, Regina Hotel Association president Tracy Fahlman said during a previous executive committee meeting.
"Airbnbs are ghost hotels," Fahlman said, referring to the short-term rentals that have evolved into large-scale commercial enterprises.
Fahlman noted that when regulations were established for homestays in 2013, it was before services like Airbnb were popularized and widely used.
The rules should be modernized to level the playing field for other businesses, she argued.
Some regulations commonly seen in other cities include licensing frameworks, reduced licence fees for primary residences and a separation between primary and secondary residences.