Airbnb Impacts on Nordegg

As full-time residents of Nordegg and Airbnb owners located within the Resort Commercial Subdivision, we would like to express our concerns regarding the growing number of short-term rentals that are set to open within the North Nordegg’s Residential Subdivision.

by | Published on February 15, 2022 | Last updated on October 26, 2022

This is an excerpt of a letter sent to Clearwater County Council in February 2022.

It is our understanding that Clearwater County will be developing policies to help regulate and limit occupancy numbers of the short-term holiday rentals (e.g. Airbnb & VRBO) within our community. We would like to put forward some queries and recommendations for Council to take into consideration. For although we support the idea of homeowners benefiting from short-term rentals, we believe this should be done with proper consideration of the impact it will have on our growing community.

Community Contributions

Community is a big part of Nordegg’s life, so although growing our tourist market is important, we believe the people who choose to live here full-time should remain a top priority. How can we minimize the negative impact short-term lets may have on our community? How will residential short-term rentals feed back into our community?

Neighbourhood Preservation Regulations

  • Ensure common safety regulations are met.
  • Restrict the number of rooms that can be rented.
  • Restrict the number of guests on site and per room.
  • Require a discretionary use development permit.
  • Municipal licensing fees.
  • Require additional insurance.
David Thompson Country Mugs
Expanse Cottages

Airbnb Effect on Housing Markets

“A healthy housing market is the real bedrock of a healthy economy, short-term gain can undermine long-term sustainability.”

We do not need to look far to see the negative impact this can have on the local housing market, as it is something our Alberta resort towns have been experiencing for some time now: Banff, Jasper, Canmore…

If the majority of new builds are slotted to be short-term holiday rentals, it does not allow for long-term lets for local residents and future staffing. Local businesses are already feeling the lack of affordable housing for the staffing required and we do not want to see our long-term local residents pushed out due to financial constraints.

Absentee Landlords

Properties with absentee landlords have a larger tendency to be abused by their guests, “It can totally change the fabric of the community. For example, in normally quiet residential neighbourhoods, now there are Airbnb guests partying late at night because they’re on vacation. This is their weekend bender, bachelorette, or bachelor party, whatever. It changes the feel of the place. Tourists are taking up space and creating noise pollution.”

We ask that Nordegg’s short-term rental policies encourage live-in owners and discourage commercial ventures by absentee landlords within our small community.

Short-Term Rental Restrictions in Alberta

A few examples from https://prism.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/handle/1880/114200/capstone_Mian_2020.pdf:

Banff

Casual Air BnB / VRBO hosts and full-time Bed & Breakfast Owners are held to the same standards. Banff bylaws restrict the total numbers of short-term rentals within each district, permits to operate are limited and new hosts are selected by lottery. Hosts must be live-in owners who stay on-site with guests.

Jasper

Parks Canada does not allow Jasper residents to rent entire homes to tourists, hosts are exclusively live-in owners / Park residents and are restricted to renting a max. of 2-bedrooms with one parking space per bedroom. Violation of their regulations leads to $5000 fines for 1 st offence.

Canmore

Only allows short-term holiday lets in ‘Tourist Homes’ located within limited zones, with a maximum number of permitted tourist homes available in town. Authorized Tourist Homes also pay a higher property tax – approximately triple the residential rate. “The town of Canmore has been notoriously ruthless when it comes to illegal vacation rental enforcement. They have been known to issue $2,500 first offence fines without warning – for simply listing a property on Airbnb or VRBO websites. Subsequent fines are $5,000.”

Short-Term Rental Restrictions Around the World

A few examples from https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45083954:

  • Amsterdam: Entire home rentals are limited to 60 days a year, set to be halved.
  • Barcelona: Short-term rentals must be licensed but no new licences are being issued.
  • Berlin: Landlords need a permit to rent 50% or more of their main residence for a short period.
  • Edinburgh will soon bring in a licensing scheme from 2021 empowering councils to regulate ‘holiday-style’ lets if they feel it’s better for local communities. And in ‘control areas’, landlords will require planning permission before they can convert a whole property for short-term lets.
  • London: Short-term rentals for whole homes are limited to 90 days a year
  • New York City: Usually illegal for flats to be rented for 30 consecutive days or fewer unless the host is present.
  • Palma: Mayor has announced a ban on short-term flat rentals.
  • Portland: limits one Airbnb unit per resident and it has to be a residence that you live in.
  • Paris: Short-term rentals are limited to 120 days a year.
  • San Francisco: Hosts must obtain business registration and short-term rental certificates. Entire property rentals are limited to 90 days a year.
  • Singapore: Minimum rental period of six consecutive months for public housing.
  • Tokyo: Home sharing was legalized in only 2017. Capped at 180 days per year

Commercial vs Residential Overheads

What operating regulations will short-term rentals fall under for insurance and tax purposes? Will homeowners be allowed to run commercial businesses within residential zoning? We are aware that the Alberta Tourism Levy Act now includes the extension of the tourism levy to short-term rentals offered through online marketplaces, but that there is no accountability on the part of the owners of such properties to ensure this happens when they rent outside of the established marketplaces.

Competitive Fairness

There is obviously room for growth in Nordegg’s accommodation market, however, all new operators should have to adhere to comparable regulations that already exist within the local economy. If short-term holiday rentals are allowed to grow unchecked within privately owned residential settings, they will quickly overwhelm the market and set industry rates which may or may not be competitive or conducive to the long-term health and growth of our community.

More Stories on Destination Development

October 2022 Meeting Highlights

An overview of our plans for 2022/23 and a discussion on the North Saskatchewan River Heritage Designation.

Some Numbers on Staff Housing

Rules for staff housing are different than other types of tenancies, including how much can be deducted from wages for rent.

Commercial Garbage Collection

Looking for solutions to the commercial garbage pickup challenges in Nordegg.

Visitor Friendly Assessment: 5 Years Later

Taking a look back at the David Thompson Country Visitor Friendly Assessment from 2017 to see how far we've come along implementing its recommendations.