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My office receives some calls and emails regarding Short Term Rentals (STR), and due to citizen feedback, a Notice of Motion (NOM) was put to Council, directing Administration to:

“explore the Business License, Land Use, Fire and Safety Codes requirements that would ensure that Short Term Rentals, Bed and Breakfasts and Lodging Houses are subject to the appropriate level of safety and oversight (commensurate with their scale and purpose), and provide a scoping report with options (including costs of implementation) and recommendations through the SPC on CPS no later than 2018 Q4.”

In response to the NOM, Calgary Community Standards is conducting a project to research and analyze the current state of STRs in Calgary and preparing recommendations and a scoping report to be presented to Council. The project charter was signed off at the end of February, 2018.

The key issues that will be explored as part of the project include: Effects on housing supply, Health and Safety, Licensing, permitting and registration, Neighbourhood disruption, Taxation, levies and fees, Market fairness, Support for small business, Alternative accommodation options; and Liability.

Some City’s have outright bans on STR (like Banff/Canmore), but the City wants to look further into this area on a few key areas such as affordable housing, safety issues, sharing economy, revenue collection, neighbourhood disruption, and at what point does a dwelling unit become a business. Council should have the final recommendation by the end of 2018.

Often we hear of STR when there is an incident of a house being wrecked from a ‘party’ often case the issues arise from parking, noise, or someone going to the wrong address. A high number of bookings are actually booked by those who live in Calgary, who have visiting friends and family, and relationship breakups. Stampede is also a period when many STR’s are booked.

Issues with STR – What can be done:

Often my office is asked what a citizen can do if there is an issue regarding a STR that is near them. The first one is that 88% of STR’s operating are booked on AirBnB, and they have a reporting tool for those that are having an issue https://www.airbnb.ca/neighbours

For reporting specific issues:

  • Criminal activity or nuisance issues related to loud parties should be reported to the Calgary Police Service on the non-emergency number at 403.266.1234 (unless it is an emergency);
  • Nuisance issues such as unsightly property (i.e. overflowing waste bins, accumulation of cigarette butts) should be reported to 311 for a General Bylaw Officer to attend;
  • Signage on the property indicating it is an STR, should be reported to 311 as a sign on private property concern;
  • Parking concerns should be reported to the Calgary Parking Authority at 403.537.7000
  • Tenants subletting for STRs, landlords are welcome to contact the Calgary Residential Rental Association (CRRA) and they may be able to assist;
  • Public health concerns need to be reported to Alberta Health Services’ Calgary office for Environment Public Health at 403-943-2295; and

An unsafe condition of the building (e.g. missing deck railing) should be reported to 311 as a building or fire code issue.

Please keep in mind that a Bed and Breakfast is different from a STR as the guest is served breakfast by the proprietor, and guest use is limited to the room and dining area, whereas an AirBnB is for the entire property.

If you have any other questions regarding STR, call 311, or contact my office at ward04@calgary.ca

Sean Chu

Sean Chu

Sean Chu arrived in Calgary from Taiwan in 1985 speaking not a word of English, and within 7 years he was a sworn officer with the Calgary Police Service. From that point on Sean worked with the Calgary Police Service as on Officer for 21 years in a number of roles until 2013.

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