Edmonton councillors calling on the city to revoke business licences of problem short-term rental properties

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Complaints since August 2018 were focused on 117 properties with 71 warnings issued by the city, but no licences revoked. There were 78 complaints related to issues such as nuisance, waste, snow or ice on the sidewalk, 81 complaints about unlicensed properties and eight regarding animal noise issues.

Concerns were also raised by councillors about the ability for bylaw officers to respond to nuisance and noise complaints for early-hour parties. The city’s municipal enforcement officers work between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The city added the business licence requirement last August to curb some of the concerns by better tracking short-term rental properties. The addition of licensing includes requiring the licence number on all rental postings and adherence to health guidelines from Alberta Health Services.

But of the 1,768 short-term rental properties currently listed in Edmonton, only 15 per cent have received the necessary licence.

Wai Tse Ramirez, the city’s general supervisor of business licensing, told councillors that the first year of licensing has been focused on educating and working with property owners before taking enforcement action.

“Most of the complaints that we’ve had, we’ve been issuing warnings giving opportunity for the business owners to shift and change the way that they’re operating their business. For some of the party houses that we have noted over time that we’ve had, we’ve been working with the platforms themselves to help them make some decisions in terms of removing them off the platforms.”

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