City council looking to make rental property owners more responsive to complaints

EDMONTON — Edmonton councillors are discussing how to make owners of rental properties like Airbnbs more responsive to disturbances at their properties.

A report presented to city council on Tuesday proposes making owners provide the City with a guest and property management plan. The plan would require owners to detail how they would manage waste, parking, noise and other issues before a licence is issued.

Another suggestion would require owners to post their contact information on a sign somewhere on the rental property that is visible from the sidewalk and adjoining properties or units.

In March, city administration was tasked with looking into ways to improve bylaws regarding short-term rentals, such as Airbnb properties. This included ways for the public to lodge complaints about disturbances, such as rentals being used for parties.

“Many of the property owners don’t live nearby, they can’t come and address a concern immediately,” said Ward 2 Coun. Bev Esslinger. “If we can work with a ‘good neighbourhood agreement’ so if there’s a problem they can call whoever it is, and they can deal with it somehow.”

About 1,800 properties in Edmonton are listed on rental sites like Airbnb.

City staff said that issues with guest at those properties have been rare: Between August 2018 and September 2020, the city received 167 complaints. That number does not include calls to police.

Currently, owners renting out partial home space are required to inform neighbours, but owners renting out their entire homes are not required to do so.

City staff outlined several potential changes to those rules, including requiring notification be given to neighbours of entire home rentals and removing notification requirements from partial-home renters.

The report also stated that the number of properties with complaints levied against them was too low to “establish a reasonable threshold for licence suspension or removal.”

Council is expected to discuss the proposed changes in January.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson

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