The Future of Short Term Rentals in Halifax

Holiday resort houses Terherne

You’ve probably heard by now that short-term rental regulations are drastically changing for Halifax. This blog is meant to be a place for you to learn what’s going on quickly and discover your next best steps.

The Update

Airbnbs and other short-term rental units will soon fall under more stringent regulations in Halifax. Halifax councillors recently voted 13-3 to restrict how short-term rentals—homes, apartments or condos rented for 28 days or less at a time, can operate going forward. Those restrictions feature a range of changes, including these two: In residential areas of the city, only an owner’s primary residence can be rented short-term; and the same parking and bedroom limits currently in effect for regular bed and breakfasts will also apply to short-term rentals. The changes are intended, at least in part, to address the region-wide housing crisis and improve “the availability and affordability of long-term rental housing.”

Next Steps

As of September 2023, Halifax homeowners who run Airbnbs, VRBOs and the like will only be able to run those short-term rental units if they meet one of two conditions:

  1. Those homes, units or bedrooms must be in the owner’s primary residence if they’re in a residential area…OR
  2. The units must be in a commercial zone where hotels already exist.

The new rules also mean residential homeowners with backyard and secondary suites won’t be permitted to lease those suites as short-term rentals anymore. Instead, if an owner still wishes to rent out their secondary suite, the unit must be made available as a traditional long-term rental.

With these changes, the Council hopes to free up housing in its supply-starved long-term rental market. The HRM had a 1% vacancy rate in 2022, per the latest CMHC rental report, which ranks among the lowest in Canada. A 2019 McGill report found short-term rentals had taken as many as 740 housing units off the region’s long-term housing market.

Council’s short-term rental changes come into effect on Sept. 1, 2023. Regional staff expect that of Halifax’s roughly 2,000 short-term rental listings, about 1,350 will fall under the new residential restrictions.

If you fall under these new restrictions and have questions or need assistance listing your rentals, please know I’m always here to help you succeed.

 

-Bre

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