RedERent December 20, 2022 Halifax Regional Municipality no responses

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding short term rentals (STRs), with some claiming that they are ruining neighbourhoods and driving up housing costs. While the evidence can sometimes appear clear-cut and obvious (and, by extension, clickable), the reality is much more complex and nuanced. While it is true that short-term rentals can have some negative impacts, they also have many benefits that should not be overlooked.

The Changing Neighbourhood

One of the main arguments against short term rentals is that they can drive up housing costs in popular tourist destinations. This is because homeowners and landlords may be more likely to list their properties on platforms like Airbnb rather than renting them out long-term to local residents. This can reduce the availability of affordable housing and lead to gentrification in specific neighbourhoods. This is often true, but not the whole story.

In reality, any time a neighbourhood becomes more popular, and in demand, housing prices are likely to go up. This can happen for various reasons, such as an influx of new businesses or an increase in the overall desirability of the area. However, it’s important to note that this is not a problem unique to short-term rentals. Blaming short-term rentals for rising housing costs ignores the bigger picture and fails to address the root causes of the issue.

Another concern is that short term rentals can lead to an increase in noise and other nuisances in residential neighbourhoods. While this is a valid concern, it is not necessarily a given with short term rentals. Many platforms, including Airbnb, have policies to address these issues, such as prohibiting parties and setting maximum occupancy limits. The root of the cause is often how and by whom these rentals are managed. A poorly managed rental or building can be a problem for the community, no matter how long the tenants stay.

You should take it up with The Manager.

Vacation rentals have been around for a while, but sites like Airbnb and VRBO have allowed the market to expand widely by making it incredibly easy for owners to provide their services and for “guests” to find them. Unlike a hotel chain (think “Hilton” or “Holiday Inn”), Airbnb and VRBO don’t have any brand buy-in (something they’re starting to worry about, actually). Those sites offer rental owners a “service” (essentially advertising).
One day we can do a whole article about the situation there, but the important thing to keep in mind is that it’s the rental owners and managers who are deciding how and when your neighbourhoods are being affected.

A poorly managed rental or building can be a problem for the community, no matter how long the tenants stay.

The Case and The Costs for Short Term Rentals

Many assume the decision to offer a rental on a short term or vacation basis is purely about making more money. It’s often not as simple as that. There are benefits to short and long-term contracts; what IS often the case is that the rental owner is trying to determine what’s best for their investment. That could be as easy as “dipping a toe” into being a landlord or even just being able to collect or adjust the rent to cover operating costs or being able to access/use the rental part of the time. Let’s assume for the moment that you don’t care if the landlord gets wealthy, though (because that’s usually where this conversation goes). There is a way for short-term rentals to still exist without disrupting or damaging the rental market.

Local governments can implement regulations to address these concerns, such as setting limits on the number of short-term rentals allowed in a given area or requiring hosts to obtain a permit. This is something that has been getting a lot of buzz in HRM lately.

HRM City Council is Reviewing Short Term Rental regulations

It’s worth mentioning that there is technically already a requirement for short-term rentals in Nova Scotia to register and pay a fee. HRM city council is now looking at how they can better enforce and control when and where rentals are popping up. A lot has been made of the fact that they have deferred their vote so that they can gather more data and information to make an informed decision; this is actually fairly good news, though; anecdotally, it seems clear something that needs to be addressed here, but city council hasn’t actually presented or reviewed substantial data yet; which is kind of what we expect lawmakers to do before voting.

We’ll disclose at this stage that RedE Rent advertises and manages long-term and short-term rentals in HRM. In doing so, we have consulted the same data sources that have been reported as the basis for the City Council discussion. They’re good sources, but they’re not the full picture.

Before HRM looks at “cracking down” on short-term rentals, they also want to weigh the positive impacts of the market. For example, short-term rentals can provide a source of income for homeowners, which can be especially helpful for those who are struggling to make ends meet. This is part of the reason HRM is looking at keeping the door open for rentals in personal residences.

Short-term rentals bring economic benefits to the local community, as visitors who stay in short-term rentals are likely to spend money on food, entertainment, and other local goods and services.
Finally, short-term rentals can provide travellers with a more authentic and immersive travel experience. Rather than staying in a generic hotel, visitors can experience local culture and get a taste of what it’s like to live in a particular neighbourhood or city. This can be especially appealing for travellers who want to avoid touristy areas and explore off the beaten path.

But you likely already knew all that, right?

You’re not out to shut down the retired empty nesters who just want to make some extra money so they can visit their grandkids.

You’re upset with the guy who is turning an entire apartment building into a “hotel” or the big house in the suburbs that has crazy parties every weekend.

You want the housing problem to be resolved; you want to understand why people with full-time jobs are homeless.

We agree. We want all that too. That’s why we wanted to write this article.

Short term rentals are not inherently evil.

While they can have some negative impacts, they also have many benefits and should be viewed as one part of a larger and more complex housing market. A bad landlord or manager can create a real issue, and 5 of them can create 5 real issues (at least). The expansion of the short-term rental market has created many more landlords and managers than there ever were, and we’re quickly discovering not all of them are created equal.

Rather than demonizing short-term rentals, we should look at the root causes of rising housing costs and work to address any adverse impacts through targeted regulations and policies. What those regulations and policies should be are perhaps topics for another article. For now, we think the items the city council is looking at are the right ones, and we hope they will make a positive and informed decision.

The short-term rental market is slowing. Likely not forever, but as the economy continues to face challenges, we may see the long-term rental market bounce back slightly and ease the shortages we’ve been experiencing. Many “evil” or “bad” landlords will be the first ones out of the market. Short-term rentals are really easy to be bad at and even easier to think you’re good at. Our prediction is that when the money runs out for short-term rentals, so will the short-term interest of “bad operators.”

RedE Rent Short Term Rental Banner (RedE Rent Travel)

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RedERent August 12, 2021 Construction no responses

Despite the undeniably high demand for purpose-built rental (PBR) housing, the development of these types of buildings has been lacking in (and outside of) most large Canadian cities.

While the homeownership market (freehold and condominium housing) continues to keep crews busy, “PBR” housing remains a “someday maybe” priority for many a Town Hall/private developer; and the reality is, it’s been that way for the last 50 years.

In their recent article for The Financial Post, Murtaza Haider and Stephen Moranis point out that Halifax has been bucking the trend.

Now, before we get hate mail (although…it might still happen) reminding us of the incredible housing shortage in the city we want to say:
Yes. Absolutely, the growing demand for rental housing (particularly affordable and attractive rental housing) continues to outpace the actual development of rental housing.

The fact remains, however, that rental housing in HRM dominates residential construction. So, what is at the root of the focus on rental development? A number of factors, but there are two that Haider and Moranis cite which certainly grabbed our attention.

Halifax’s housing initiatives deserve examination since we believe that restricting landlords to rent raises by a certain level, also known as vacancy decontrol, and the introduction of the capital gains tax have been instrumental in constraining the supply of rental housing.

John Dickie, president of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, pointed out that “until recently, Nova Scotia did not have rent control at all for rental apartments.” The exception was manufactured home lots. Vacancy decontrol was only introduced as a temporary measure in response to COVID-19.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. This has been a prefered business model for years and has lead to multi generational wealth and success in our city.

Haider-moranis Halifax Rental Starts Trend Line from "The secret behind Halifax’s ability to build purpose-built rental housing at a record pace | Financial Post"

Large real estate invenstors have taken notice (and root), making rental housing stock in HRM even more desirable.

Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (CAPREIT) in February 2020 announced the acquisition of eight apartment buildings in Halifax that added 1,503 rental dwellings to its local portfolio, which now comprises some 3,100 rental suites. With an average occupancy rate north of 99 per cent in the eight buildings, CAPREIT has been capitalizing on the strong demand for rental housing.

Halifax’s success with rental housing construction demonstrates how public and private entities may collaborate to build sufficient rental housing in places where the demand for rental housing is high. An absence of rent controls in the past, supportive socio-demographics, and imaginative homebuilders and rental investors have been critical to resolving the rental housing challenges.

To learn more and take a look at the full report we recomend checking out the full article from Murtaza Haider and Stephen Moranis here or visiting thier fantastic site at

Source: The secret behind Halifax’s ability to build purpose-built rental housing at a record pace | Financial Post

Murtaza Haider is a professor of Real Estate Management at Ryerson University. Stephen Moranis is a real estate industry veteran. They can be reached at the Haider-Moranis Bulletin website,

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