PEIFAH supports primary residence bylaw option

We at PEI Fight for Affordable Housing have been advocating for the City of Charlottetown for an owner-occupied bylaw for short term rentals. A recent presentation given by the City has highlighted some areas of concern that make it clear that commercial short term rentals (STRs) are adding pressures to the housing crisis:

  • 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. 193 housing units are removed from the market which is a 8.9% increase in loss from the previous year. 
  • Growth of STR’s has contributed to an increase in rental costs of approximately 37.7% in  2017
  • 54% of listings were operated in the host’s principal residence, meaning still room for STRs to exist in Charlottetown

We appreciate and understand that data and information surrounding STRs and their housing impacts took time to gather and appreciate the City of Charlottetown consulting experts to gain a better understanding of this issue. The lack of data on exact number of listings and their locations is information that is not readily shared by big companies like Airbnb as they rely on lack of municipal intervention to grow commercial operators and increase revenues regardless of community impacts.

The City presented five scenarios, and we at PEIFAH would like to advocate for Scenario 2:

Permitting STRs in any principal residence including apartments, with no allowance for commercial STRs

We believe this is the best option for 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”

How will council be remembered on this topic? Voting for the economic interests of those who commercialize existing long term housing during a housing crisis, or taking leadership to protect our neighbours and communities?

Please call, email, or post to your Councilors and make your thoughts known:

Contact information

Link to March 10 2020 presentation

Tentative public meeting date: March 31

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