Hotel industry calls for Airbnb fees, regulation to level playing field
Sue Hoang says she's used Airbnb rentals when travelling because they're cheaper and roomier compared to a hotel.
"I think it's much better than a hotel because you have access to a washer and dryer to a kitchen often more space," said Hoang.
Hoang liked the idea so much she turned her home into an Airbnb
"Sort of financially it seemed like the logical next step, and so far it's been fantastic," said Hoang.
Now the hotel industry wants Airbnb owners, and their customers, to pay more for the service.
The Hotel Association of Canada says the number of Airbnb's in the country has doubled in two years. It wants them regulated like hotels, because the small businesses provide a similar service, minus the expenses and staff.
"If we don't get the right rules in place there are lots of jobs that would be at risk for sure," says association president, Susie Grynol.
The association says many Airbnb's are becoming larger commercial businesses, so they should be required to pay for insurance, business licenses, GST, even the city's 5% hotel tax, used to promote Winnipeg.
"That accommodation tax is earmarked to showcase Winnipeg and to bring people into Winnipeg and Airbnbers are benefiting from that," said Grynol.
Winnipeg's property and development chair says before the accommodation tax can even be considered, the city is in the process of looking at what bylaws are needed to regulate Airbnb rentals.
"We're getting real caught here in this kind of grey area in the middle so right now the department is working on trying to define that a bit where do the bylaws come into play," said councillor John Orlikow. Sue Hoang says she's torn on the idea of paying more fees and taxes.
"Because we're just individuals who are very small businesses. For the amount of taxes I'm going to pay and after claiming all the fees, it's really not a lot that we make," said Hoang.