The City of Charlottetown is currently in the process of deciding on a framework for which to regulate short-term rentals in Charlottetown. On May 17, they held a public meeting to detail the 5 regulatory scenarios proposed by Dr. David Wachsmuth in his extensive report on Short-Term Rentals (STR).
The decision-making process within the City will work as follows (info below provided by CBC reporter Nicola McLeod):
- The City Planning Department will look at the issue and gather suggestions and ideas.
- They will present those to the Planning Board (made up of City Councillors and citizens of Charlottetown).
- The Planning Board recommends the document be finalized and go to public consultation.
- The City will hold another public meeting with the same process.
- A Development Officer will develop a bylaw.
- That bylaw will be presented to the Planning Board, which will make a recommendation one way or the other.
- The Bylaw is voted by the council
Here is a breakdown of all 5 Scenarios:
Permitting short term rentals in any principal residence except apartments, with no allowance for commercial short term rentals.
Permitting short term rentals in any principal residence including apartments, with no allowance for commercial short term rentals.
Permitting short term rentals in any principal residence except apartments, and only allowing commercial short term rentals in zones that permit a hotel or hostel.
Permitting short term rentals in any principal residence including apartments, and only allowing commercial STR in zones that permit a hotel or hostel.
Permitting short term rentals in any principal residence, and only allowing commercial STR in zones that permit a hotel or hostel, as well as the Downtown Mixed Use Neighbourhood (DMUN) Zone.
The five scenarios restrict the types of short term rentals permitted in Charlottetown to various degrees. These scenarios generally range from more restrictive (Scenario 1) to less restrictive (Scenario 5). The option that the City chooses will determine the amount of current short term rentals that will return to the long-term market as homes for residents the future of housing availability and affordability in our City
As of now, city staff are recommending Scenario 4 which would continue to allow commercial operators to run STR’s in the downtown area 500 Block and St. Avard’s area where 61% of STR’s are already located. This scenario would only bring 86 units back to the long-term market.
We believe Scenario 2 is the best option for regulating and returning long-term units to the market (be it to purchase or rent long term) while still allowing principal residence STR operators to earn extra income:
- 53.9% of current active listings would still be allowed
- 122 (88.4%) housing units could be return to the long term market
By choosing a strictly owner-occupied model we would be adhering to the guiding principles of the City which is to protect long-term housing and community stability.
We continue to ask that Council put residents and neighbourhoods as priority over commercial interests of one group. As stated in the report: “STR activity is becoming a highly commercialized operation – the top 10% of hosts earned nearly half (47.3%) of all STR revenue”
Impact of Short Term Rentals on Housing Availability
Approximately 193 housing units were removed from Charlottetown’s long-term housing market:
- 138 housing units during the year; and
- An additional 55 housing units during the summer high season
Impact of Short Term Rentals on Housing Affordability
It is estimated that growth of STR’s has contributed to an increase in rental costs of approximately 37.7% in 2017. They estimate that STRs are responsible for more than a third of all rent increases in the city in the last three years—an average of $292 per renter.
THIS IS THE TIME TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
It is vitally important that there is a large and vocal public voice on this issue. Our community is at stake.
Email the Mayor, your City Councillor, and the Planning Department (email@example.com) to let them know why you think Scenario 2 is the best option to choose. We have a template email ready if you need some guidance.
Share this webpage, articles, the above report, and any other information you come across with your family and friends. We need to keep this issue top of mind.
Use hashtag #HomesNotHotels #SupportScenario2 in any social media posts on this topic. Please tag us (@HousingPEI) in any of your posts!
Sign our petition
Charlottetown is in a housing crisis, exacerbated by the short-term rental (STR) market. Available housing and affordable rents require strong regulation of STRs. We the undersigned support regulating short-term rentals to owner-occupied residences only. These residences (house or apartment) must be where the host lives for at least 185 days out of the year and has listed as their primary address on their bills, ID, and taxes.
“Fun” Facts About STR’s in Charlottetown
- 635 STR listings in Charlottetown but only 265 STR listings that were registered with Tourism PEI. This means loss of revenue for the province with more than half of all units being non-compliant. Average # of housing units converted to full-time STR’s per year #
- 2017: 55 units
- 2018: 124 units
- 2019: 138 units.
- During the peak season approx. STRs took an average of 138 housing units off the rental market in 2019—a number which rose to 193 during the Summertime which is a 8.9% increase in loss from the previous year.
- It is estimated that 46% of listings are not being operated out of their hosts’ principal residences, and that these commercial operations were responsible for 60% of STR nights reserved in 2019.
- Charlottetown’s STR market is dominated by entire-home listings, which make up more than three quarters (76.7%) of active listings and earned 89% (or $7.6 million) of all host revenue in 2019.
- 73% of listings in Charlottetown are units with two bedrooms or three or more causing a potential threat to the supply of family appropriate housing in the municipality.
- Principal residence STRs tend to be located throughout the city, while non principal-residence listings are more heavily concentrated in and around the 500 Lot Area.
- More than one third (35.9%) of all revenue last year was earned by just one in twenty hosts, and the most successful ten percent of hosts earned nearly half (47.3%) of all STR revenue.
- The median host revenue in Charlottetown last year was $19,300, while the top earning host earned almost $440,000.
- On September 1st, 2019 there were 111 FREH (frequently rented entire-home) listings in Charlottetown. These listings are what the advocacy group Fairbnb has called “ghost hotels”—entire homes converted to dedicated STR operations. Each of these dwelling units could be housing Charlottetown residents, but instead, are serving as de facto hotels.