Toronto condo to limit short-term rentals after triple homicide inside Airbnb
TORONTO -- A condo in downtown Toronto that was the scene of a fatal shooting Friday night is planning to end short-rentals at the building as city regulations around the rentals face an appeal.
Three men were killed and two other people were wounded following a shooting inside the downtown condo building in the area of 85 Queens Wharf Rd., located near Lake Shore Boulevard and Bathurst Street, shortly before 10:30 p.m.
Toronto police stated that the incident started inside a 32nd floor unit that was being rented through Airbnb, and that the men who were shot were at the unit for a party.
“There was a party, it was an Airbnb party but we don’t know what led up to the shooting,” Acting Det.-Sgt. Henri Marsman told reporter Saturday.
CTV News Toronto spoke with at least a dozen owners, tenants and short term rental guests at the building on Saturday, many of which said the building has several short-term rental suites, and talked about seeing parties frequently.
In an email to residents, obtained by CTV News Toronto, the property management wrote that changes are coming in relation to short-term rentals at the building.
“We have many owners that are in favour of short-term rentals as well as many against,” the note stated. “In light of this incident and the increasing violence throughout the city, we will be drafting and sending out a new rule that will limit the renting any unit less than three months.”
After the shooting, a spokesperson for Airbnb said in an email statement to CTV News Toronto that it banned the booking guest.
“We have zero tolerance for this type of behaviour, and we ban both party houses and unauthorized parties on our platform,” the statement stated.
This is not the first time in Toronto where there has been violence at a short-term rental unit.
In August, a man was shot at a luxury Airbnb property in the Bridle Path neighbourhood.
In January 2019, police investigated a shooting at a short term rental in the same building where the triple homicide Friday night took place.
In 2017, the city passed regulations permitting short-term rentals, which are any rental that is less than 28 consecutive days long, across the city only in principal residences, but the regulation is facing a road block.
“The short-term rental zoning bylaw amendments are now in force pending resolution of a legal challenge following an appeal of City Council’s bylaw around short-term rentals across the city in principal residences. Within their principal residence, people can rent up to three rooms or their entire home,” said City of Toronto spokesperson Brad Ross in an email to CTV Toronto.
Thorben Wieditz, a spokesperson for Fairbnb, which has been working for years to stop “ghost hotels,” said the city’s rules help prevent “investment condos.”
“So hosts … can register with the city and receive a short rental permit that shows [they] are actually renting out [their] principal residence and not some investment condo,” Wieditz told CTV News Saturday afternoon.
Councillor Joe Cressy told reporters the regulations passed two years ago are being appealed which means the city can’t enforce the rules, but he said the city wants short-term rentals to follow the rules anyway.
“Work with the city, abide by our rules today and let’s stop with these ghost hotels and these party suites,” he said.