Below are just a few of the stories that people have shared with us about the effects of unregulated short-term rentals on their lives, their livelihoods, and their neighbourhoods.
"I appreciated getting your letter in our mail box. I've become increasingly concerned about the rise of airbnbs in our city, especially as to how they are linked to decreasing vacancy rates and the increasing cost of rent across the city.". - HRM Resident
"We live across the street from an Airbnb ghost hotel. The "super host" owner may not even live in Canada. Among other homes, he's got this 5-bdrm heritage mansion and it's booked nearly solid.
There's a large deck that guests just love to jump up and down on with the music cranked, usually starting at noon. There are often liquor boxes left in front of the property after the weekend's drunkfest, sometimes for days. Every Thursday our anxiety level ramps up while we wait for that weekend's hen party, stag, or pub crawlers. This Saturday it was a wedding group of 10, with around 15 extra guests and a chartered bus hogging the narrow street.
In the past we've called the police at 3am for noise infractions, loud vomiting and arguments on the sidewalk. We've sent emails to the host and our City Councillor. It's beyond stressful, and we're afraid of making pests of ourselves to the Police, so we don't call unless it's really out-of-hand.
Most of our neighbours are seniors and shut-ins who don't want to get involved, even though the noise drives them off their balconies (for some, the only chance they have to be outside). Personally, we're tired of spending our weekends with the windows closed and our headphones on.
I've been following Airbnb in the news for a few years now, and I've personally experienced how hard it is to find an affordable apartment to rent. We have a chance to do something different here, to set an example for cities held captive to short-term rentals." - HRM Resident
"We're onside. We are plagued by an Airbnb that backs onto the lane directly south of us ... constant partying at this Airbnb, our sleep in summer is ruined nightly...partyers were launching whizz-bangs at 3 a.m. ...we hear the drunken roar nightly, straight thru till morning. Noisy partyers roam our back lane and the street in front. The neighborhood feels unsafe, and it is unsafe. Amenities we counted on are also gone. Street parking, for instance, owing to short-term rentals and the creep of other infringements.
There's an Airbnb, as well, right up the street from us. The area, once a coveted address, seems bound for ruin. Our family's had a 40-yr history here. We're eyewitnesses to the deterioration. We're concerned for ourselves, but we're equally concerned for those potentially disenfranchised by commercial interests. Who's being displaced?" - Hydrostone Resident
"I am the owner and operator of a small cottage resort. We are going into our 30th year of business which will most likely be our last. We have watched our occupancy dwindle in concert with the growth of illegal Airbnb offerings around us. I have had many consultations with all facets of government. I have sent dozens of emails to MPs, MLAs, CRA, (local) Councillors and even TIANS, etc. only to fall on deaf ears. I have a lot of knowledge about the growth of this so called "sharing economy" and I also have many suggestions on how to regulate the short-term accommodation industry." - South Shore Resident
"Like many others in my neighbourhood, I have concerns about how this industry affects the neighbourhood integrity and affordable rental stock in our community. I do use short-term rentals myself from time-to-time and agree that when done properly, they are a great business innovation - but I don't like how I see the system being abused in Halifax - where entire buildings are used only as short-term rentals but without being properly regulated or taxed." - HRM Resident
"I just learned about your initiative and heard your story on the news. We live near a university, and have been dealing with absentee landlords for years with the student housing market. We've been here 25 years, and seen such a deterioration of our neighbourhood. I just called 311 about two properties where there is no-one living and the grass was not being cut. Plus we deal with constant garbage issues - students who can't be bothered and apathetic owners. Had the police to “one of the” homes a couple of times already this summer. You are so right with what you are doing!" - South End Resident
Kevin Hooper, manager of partnerships and community development for United Way Halifax, says short-term rentals have a ripple effect. “When someone owns multiple properties and is renting them out short-term rather than on the traditional market, it’s taking away what could be an affordable home for someone,” says Hooper. “The vacancy rate is already lower than we’ve ever seen, and there is considerable competition for fewer available units. We feel it’s important to raise attention to affordable housing crunch being felt in our city.”