As work continues on the Town of Drumheller Housing Strategy, one facet being considered is to address and regulate the number of short term rentals within the community.
While short term rentals, also called STRs and which include Airbnb units, are beneficial to the tourism sector, they also have impacts on the rental and housing market for local residents; Economic Development manager Reg Johnston brought forward a briefing note for discussion during the Monday, February 13 Committee of the Whole meeting.
“Through research, we know short term rentals impact affordability and take units off the market for the rental side of things, but they are also helpful for tourism,” Mr. Johnston shared during the presentation.
As of October 2022, there were roughly 100 short term rental units within the Town.
Mr. Johnston explained, although there is currently no clear definition of short term rentals, it is generally considered any residence which is rented for less than 28 days, and will be more clearly defined and outlined in the finalized bylaw.
Other municipalities in the surrounding region were also surveyed, and it was found there were no short term rentals in Irricana, 12 in Strathmore, 123 in Airdrie, and over 1,000 in Canmore.
The way municipalities regulate short term rentals was also considered, and a broader scope was reviewed which included some tourist destinations in British Columbia. All other municipalities required licensing and imposed fines and penalties, though there were some variations to other regulations such as taxation and restrictions. Although municipalities in B.C. were included in the research, Mr. Johnston noted regulations in the proposed bylaw would more closely resemble those of the other Alberta municipalities researched.
Among the points of discussion brought up following the presentation were whether these properties should be assessed at a different tax level than residential homes, potential regulations regarding the number of vehicles permitted, and whether these units and properties will be encouraged to be involved with any Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) similar to hotels and campgrounds.
A draft of the proposed bylaw is anticipated to be brought forward at the March 13 Committee of the Whole meeting for further discussion and review.