TORONTO -- Dozens of Airbnb hosts appear to have come up with a new way to skirt the City of Toronto’s new short term rental rules – just by declaring they’re exempt from them.

The strategy is a new wrinkle as Toronto starts to enforce a bylaw designed to rein in tech platforms and protect homes – with the city’s mayor telling reporters it’s clear there’s more work to be done.

“All of us have to move together now to make sure these new regulations are complied with. This is in the best interests of a greater supply of rental housing,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said.

“There is more effort needed on our part. We’ve moved now from an educational posture to an enforcement posture, and on the part of Airbnb itself,” he said.

The new rules, which came into effect Jan. 1, require any home listed to be a primary residence. The lister must get a city licence and must display that licence number in the listing.

The mayor was speaking a day after a CTV News investigation found that Airbnb had made sweeping changes to convert thousands of short-term rentals to monthly rentals.

But that change had still left what appeared to be hundreds of listings with declared licenses that didn’t match any of the roughly 2,700 licences the city had approved.

One glaring example was a licence number declared to be “STR-1234-ABCDEF” – a listing altered by Airbnb when CTV News asked about it.

Hotels are exempt from these city rules, and can list on short-term rental platforms. But CTV News found some 70 listings where the lister declared themselves “exempt” from rules as well.

One group appeared to be a three-level apartment building on the Danforth – though city records showed no hotel listed at that address.

Another group appeared to be at a large condo complex on Bremner Boulevard. Staff at the condo told CTV News Toronto they are most definitely not a hotel, and don’t allow Airbnb at all.

“Everybody who is not complying should not be able to operate,” said one resident of the building.

Another said she was concerned that visitors may not be wearing masks in the building.

“A lot of these listings have been rented over the past couple of weeks on a nightly basis. That doesn’t speak to someone self-isolating over the past 14 days,” said Thorben Weiditz of Fairbnb, a group critical of the effect short-term rentals have on cities.

Airbnb says it does filter the licenses that new listers declare to some extent, but doesn’t catch some spoofed licences. It turned the “STR-1234-ABCDEF” listing to a longer-term listing.

Company officials said they would also examine a list of “exempt” listings CTV News put together.

The company says it shares real-time data with the City of Toronto via a website called CityPortal, but it says enforcement is the city’s job – and that means the city has to track down any alleged scofflaws, and only then report them to Airbnb for action.

A city report says its compliance and audit team has a staff of four which uses “multiple sources of data to identify potential by-law contraventions.”

The city has posted a request for proposals for companies that can automate the process of looking for suspect listings.

It’s not the first time that Airbnb hosts have found creative ways to list their homes while trying not to run afoul of city rules.

In Vancouver, which has a similar set of regulations, some hosts declared their homes were in a neighbouring city, when in fact they were in downtown Vancouver.

Others spoofed the addresses of local hotels to evade city scraping efforts.