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Alberta town using real estate laws to crack down on AirBnb hosts

There is no question that the internet has changed the face of many industries. Among others, the new online service AirBnb has been at the centre of many conversations about the future of hospitality and real estate. In Canmore, Alberta, illegal vacation rentals are being targeted by the municipality under their Land Use Bylaw.

The Alberta town has received reports and complaints related to people renting out all or part of their homes on the website. Many homeowners are actually not allowed to do so under Land Use Bylaws in the area. The municipality wishes to educate homeowners on these laws and then proceed with enforcing them as necessary.

Commercial properties pay different taxes in Canmore, and AirBnb hosts in residential areas are currently paying less than hotels in the city. Hotels are also required to follow certain safety protocols and to contribute to the provincial tourism marketing budget. This creates an unfair advantage for AirBnb hosts.

Additionally, some residents also have noise and security concerns. There are also concerns about the availability of rental properties when people choose to host nightly visitors instead of renting to Canmore residents. However, others disagree with the bylaws and believe it is a good way for homeowners to make high mortgage payments and to attract lower budget tourists in difficult economic times.

Overall, real estate laws may need to be adjusted and enforced with the development of industry disrupting services like AirBnB. Those who wish to purchase a property with the intention of putting it on such a service should speak with a lawyer to understand the local and provincial legislation which may apply. As the real estate industry changes, understanding the legalities is key to adjusting and making sound decisions.

Source: rmoutlook.com, "Canmore gives notice to illegal vacation rentals", Tanya Foubert, Aug 10, 2017

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