Consumer advocate warns regulating home sharing services could hurt Windsor
A woman browses the site of U.S. home sharing giant Airbnb on a tablet. (AFP / John Macdougall)
The City of Windsor may soon look at regulating home sharing services like Airbnb, but officials with the Consumer Choice Center argue the red tape will hurt the community.
Statistics provided by the center show 150 active hosts in Windsor, half of which are rented out in their entirety while the other half only rent a room in the home.
The Toronto-based North American affairs manager of the Consumer Choice Centre, David Clement, says adding additional red tape for hosts will create more costs.
Clement adds regulations also make it harder for Windsor residents to earn additional money and more expensive to attract tourists.
Some council members say regulations are needed to address safety concerns, and Mayor Drew Dilkens says that is something the city takes seriously.
“You must have certain safety elements in place whether its smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors that protect the safety of the people who'd be renting the home or a room in that home,” says Dilkens.
But Clement says additional licensing procedures usually end up replicating security protocol already in place, which does nothing to protect consumers and inflates costs.
He also notes Windsor council recently added a four per cent tax on home sharing hosts.
City staff recommend council wait to develop a licensing policy until a legal action involving Airbnb and the City of Toronto is resolved.
The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe.