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Group to share concerns about short-term rentals at community council

Neighbours Speak Up will be addressing the Halifax and West Community Council Tuesday night
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A local group concerned about short-term rentals in residential neighbourhoods will be making a presentation this week.

Neighbours Speak Up will be addressing the Halifax and West Community Council Tuesday night.

Spokesperson Bill Stewart lives in the Hydrostone neighbourhood and says life on his street changed when a property was converted to an Airbnb.

"We began to have some disruption in the neighbourhood ... there were some police visits, some noise issues and even an arrest," he said.

"It's one thing for people to stay in Airbnbs and short-term rentals, it's another thing to live beside one."

Because of the lucrative revenue potential for an Airbnb, Stewart fears more long-term rental properties in HRM could be converted to short-term rentals.

"I'm talking really about places where there's no owner or manager," he said. "We're not talking about a situation where someone is residing in their property and sharing a room or two, we're talking about an entire house or apartment that's being rented out on a short-term basis. When that happens, basically the neighbours are left to manage any issues."

He added, with rental vacancy rates at an all-time low in HRM, short-term rentals are cutting into that market and contributing to a housing shortage.

In March, Nova Scotia announced it would be replacing the Tourist Accommodations Act with a new registration act, which would require short-term accommodation providers to register through an online system.

The province is still consulting with the industry and municipalities to work out the fine details, and changes aren't expected to take effect until next year.

Halifax Regional Municipality staff are also studying the impact of short-term rentals.

Stewart's group wants to share their experiences, research and recommendations with both levels of government.

"We want to see all short-term rentals where the owner is not a primary resident designated as businesses, taxed on a commercial basis and not permitted in residential zones," he said.

The group also wants apartment and condominium buildings designated as residential zones, and strict enforcement of whatever rules are eventually brought in.




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Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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