A Fort York condominium has entered into a partnership with Airbnb that will allow its management to keep tabs on units being used as short-term rentals and collect a portion of the profits.
Airbnb announced on Wednesday that Neptune Waterpark Condos has become the first property in Canada to sign on to its Friendly Buildings Program.
The program, launched two years ago, provides participating buildings with details on the units that are being rented out through Airbnb, including the number of guests and when they are checking in and out.
As part of the program, Airbnb, also agrees to extend the $1 million in property insurance and $1 million in liability insurance provided to hosts to also cover common areas in the building. Airbnb, also says that participating buildings receive a cut of the hosts profit, usually between 5 and 15 per cent per booking.
“Our (legal) counsel recommended that we reach out to Airbnb to get some best practices from them and much to our surprise they were very willing to collaborate on putting something in place that works for both of us,” Nick Bednarz, the Vice President of the board of directors at Neptune Waterpark Condos, told CTV News Channel on Wednesday. “Airbnb is ensuring that residents are validated using government issued ID, they are providing us with access (to their system) so security and property management can see who is staying in units and if anything untoward were to happen, God forbid you had to get police involved, we would actually be able to say who is there.”
Bednarz said that the board of directors initially attempted to ban Airbnb but pivoted upon realizing that the majority of the building’s owners were not in favour of such a move.
He said that the agreement provides the condominiums property management firm with an “open line of communication” with Airbnb that will allow it to request that problem hosts be removed from the system.
Furthermore, he said that the revenue from its share of the bookings will allow the board to invest in additional security and cleaning for common elements, thereby addressing the concerns that some residents have about increased wear-and-tear from short-term rentals.
“Our option was to do nothing or to do something to try to put some controls on this,” he said.
City still studying regulations
The agreement struck between Airbnb, and Neptune Waterpark Condos comes as a city committee continues to study ways to regulate the short-term rental service.
Speaking with reporters at city hall on Wednesday, Mayor Tory said that he is happy that the agreement has come to light now so that it can be studies as part of that process.
Tory, however, said that he would have serious concerns if he was a tenant in the building.
“I would think people would say I didn’t buy in here to have some sort of transient hotel going on next door to me but each condo is governed by its own corporation. They have their own boards, they are subject to election just like I am and I guess if they do things that are unpopular with their residents they will be voted out,” he said. “It wouldn’t strike me as something that would be vey popular with the people who live there in the building but you would have to go ask them.”