Moncton looks to other cities before regulating short-term rentals

·2 min read

The City of Moncton will monitor how other municipalities across Atlantic Canada are regulating short-term rentals, like AirBnB, before deciding if more regulation is needed here, and will encourage the provincial government to create a provincial licensing framework.

The issue was discussed at this week's Committee of the Whole, where councillors voted to receive a report from municipal staff on the state of short-term rentals in the city.

Coun. Charles Léger said while he would recommend the report, he was uncomfortable waiting to see how other municipalities tackle the problem before deciding what Moncton should do.

Coun. Blair Lawrence said the issue wasn't urgent enough to tackle more aggressively just yet, while Mayor Dawn Arnold said monitoring is prudent for the moment, given the limits on staff time and many priorities being juggled.

Staff will return with findings from other municipalities in the spring.

Andrew Smith, a planner with the city who created the report, said few complaints have been registered about specific units, but concern that affordable housing units will be converted to short-term rentals is one issue many other jurisdictions have identified.

Gerald Normandeau, president of the Greater Moncton Hotel Association, said the organization has been lobbying the city for at least a year about short-term rentals.

Hotels, which have faced a difficult summer inside pandemic-closed borders, continue to be unhappy with the unfair competition created by the situation given companies like Airbnb and their operators do not pay insurance or a slew of taxes that hotels must pay, Normandeau said.

“This erodes our business by not following the same rules,” he said, adding that hotels would be fine to have a new competition on the scene if everyone was playing by the same rules.

“The game should be the same for everyone whether you operate a small Airbnb or a hotel," Coun. Paulette Theriault said at Monday's meeting. "This [Airbnb] is a multi-billion dollar organization.”

Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal