Calgary looks to crack down on multiple Airbnb listings
While Calgary tries to lock down a large number of listings, statistics reveal it’s scraping the bottom across Canada.
Analysis discovers that 36% of listings is owned by a recurrent lister, one of the major cities’ lowest rates.
While Calgary deliberates on authorizing fees to be paid by people listing several properties for rent on a short-term basis using services like Airbnb, an investigation has revealed listings on the well-known website still showing advertisement for only one home by those who use the service in the city.
708 out of 1958 Airbnb listings were overseen by a user with several listings of whole apartments, houses or condos in Calgary last month on a sample day.
For a comprehensive map of community Airbnb listings, scroll down.
That gives a 36% rate taking Calgary to the bottom of the nation’s list for multiple listers judging from the 32,000 listings of CBC News which was shown on the well-known website in 17 Canadian cities.
Vancouver was the only city with a rate of multi-listers lower than Calgary’s. Last year, the new protocols on Airbnb’s kind of services took effect.
Many cities in Canada are concerned about the extensive commercialization of a service that was portrayed as sharing homes and the effect it has availability of accommodation and the character of the community.
The government in cities are making efforts to clearly show the point at which short-range tenancies grow from a little extra income to a full blown professional business.
The topic is one cities worldwide have been contending with also seeing as there has been an increase in the rise of services like Airbnb. Most times, it is accompanied by pressure from a hotel industry that is frustrated and considering itself as going by rules that are too strict.
In December, executive director of Calgary Hotel, Peggy Athans while talking to city council members stated that what was intended to be true home sharing has morphed into a trend and that the platforms are now being used by people to start commercial operations.
She stated that the implication is that whole homes and multiple units are being leased out consistently and that in effect, illegal hotels are run by these operators within residential buildings. She said it’s necessary that the effect of these operations on Calgary communities be looked into.
She made these comments in a committee meeting where a new licensing system for interim rentals in Calgary were being looked into.
Decisions have not been made yet but city staff have been directed by councilors to prepare a proposal for a licensing system that is tiered- one that shows the difference between mom-and-pop, casual users of Airbnb-like services and people living off of it or operating commercially.
Though, there’s still work to do on specific areas, it can be envisaged that the system will have various requirements and fitting conditions for the size and type of operation as a city report has said.
Councilors also deliberated on how possible it would be to charge licensing fees to those listing several properties for rent or leasing their properties for a greater number of days accepted in a year as part of the conditions.
A report is expected from the city staff by September.
A comparison of Calgary to other cities.
CBC analysis showed that in the entire country, 44% of the listings on Airbnb in the 17 cities studied was owned by a multi-lister.
In certain locations, most of the listings were from users with several properties for rent. Montreal (51%), Gatineau (52%), Charlottetown (57%), Whistler (65%) and Banff (76%) were included.
It was discovered in the analysis that stock images were used by some multi-listers to appear as normal people in their Airbnb profiles when in reality, they were managed by corporations with many properties in many cities.
In the entire country, CBC News discovered that 22% of listings on Airbnb were from users who owned not less than 5 rentable properties.
A researcher from Fairbnb- a union of groups promoting interim rental regulations in Canada- Thorben Wieditz said that it brings up considerations about taking down housing stock and making it into ghost-hotels.
It also added that the use of its service by commercial hospitality business falls into its mission of making sure they offer better choices for their visitors and see to the success of every kind of host.
How was Airbnb listings analyzed by CBC?
The price, number of reviews, star rating and geolocation of all the listings advertising a complete home or suite shown on Airbnb’s website was closely watched and collected by CBC on April 10, 2019 for 17 cities and towns in Canada. A small number of the listings may be the same property listed over and over as a marketing strategy by the same host.
A neighbourhood breakdown was conducted as well for six major cities, Calgary included. The six cities each gave their customized profile and present neighbourhood boundaries to CBC.
The total number of homes including occupied and unoccupied was used by CBC to get an estimate of the percentage of homes listed in each neighbourhood on Airbnb. In Calgary The figures were gotten from the civic census in 2018.
Airbnb has said repeatedly that data derived this way is not reliable and can have huge gaps due to the little information present on its general web pages.