How Is the Pandemic Affecting Airbnb and Short-Term Rentals?

Reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Airbnb hosts may have permission to offer short-term rentals once again, but will business boom as it did before the coronavirus ground nearly everything to a halt?

In Ontario, the provincial government lifted its temporary ban on short-term rentals in early June. But with international travel remaining at a standstill and interprovincial travel tepid currently, many Airbnb hosts may be switching from the short-term to the long-term rental market. In Toronto, condo owners who dabbled in the short-term rental market may be looking for ways to shore up their shrinking incomes in the face of the sluggish tourism industry. That includes switching to long-term rentals and leasing or possibly selling their units.

That may be good news for renters seeking new digs with a spike in the number of new condo listings available to let.

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Local Travel May Be on the Rise

For its part, Airbnb announced new rules for hosts on April 3 that prohibits them from listing properties that reference “COVID-19”, “coronavirus”, or “quarantine”. It also published tips for hosts to revise their listings for guests who require longer stays by offering discounts, highlighting if the property is suitable as a workspace, and outlining the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures they may have in place.

With only a couple of months left in the summer season, many Canadians may be considering local travel plans and road trips that include short-term stays. Others may fancy a getaway for an extended period outside of a big city. That could prove beneficial for seasonal property owners both now and into autumn who wish to rent their cottages to visitors.

If you’re a cottage owner planning to rent out your property, your first call should be to your insurer (most cottage insurance is offered by the company who insures your primary home as well). Many providers will void your coverage if they find out you are renting your cottage without their knowledge.

Home or seasonal property insurance protects your residence and possessions against unforeseen circumstances such as fire, water damage, and theft. All policies have conditions and exclusions such as running a business out of your home and not declaring it (renting out your home or condo is a business, after all). Therefore, it’s important to review your existing policy and talk to your insurer before listing your home as available for rent.

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Take the Time to Ensure You Are Covered

Although the federal government’s “avoid all non-essential travel” advisories have yet to be lifted, many provinces are permitting travellers to come and go, but non-essential interprovincial travel is not encouraged.

If you do decide to travel either between provinces or to another country, look into what travel insurance options are available to you to find the protection you need such as emergency medical coverage before departing on your journey.