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New Airbnb partnership may impact condominium law

Technology and business developments such as Airbnb have caused a stir in both the rental housing and hospitality marketplaces. Many people have called for new condominium laws in Ontario to address this new factor, while condo boards have penned bylaws to limit owners' ability to rent their properties through Airbnb. However, one condominium has taken a different route and signed an agreement with the website. The partnership is the first of its kind in Canada.

Airbnb calls these agreements its "Friendly Buildings Program." By signing on with Airbnb, the condo building in Fort York historical district will be able to use the website to show which units are hosting, the number of guests staying, and when the guests will be there. Through the partnership, the condo board can set guidelines such as pet control, and it will receive a percentage of each booking.

The debate over how condominium law should approach short-term rentals is ongoing in Ontario. In Toronto, public talks have been conducted on the issue. Through the Friendly Buildings Program, Airbnb hopes to strike an alliance with condo boards. The Fort York building that has signed on hopes this will help with accountability.

These partnerships create a new consideration for officials reviewing short-term rentals and condominium law in Ontario. Toronto is currently considering a variety of solutions to deal with the changes Airbnb has brought, including licensing or banning people from listing units where they do not reside.

As these laws continue to change and condo boards seek solutions to problems caused by short-term rentals, it is important that owners and board members alike continue to communicate with lawyers about the legality and implications of decisions such as renting out a unit or bedroom on Airbnb.

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