With ride-sharing now cleared up, London is taking a closer look at home-sharing.
City bylaw officials have been working on a plan to regulate services that allow for customers to rent private rooms or houses for hotel-length stays online, like industry giant Airbnb.
Yet, almost a full year since planning began, nothing has been brought before council.
“I think our officials are just trying to work through all the kinks with the plan, and really make sure regulation is something good for the city,” said Ward 4 Councillor Jesse Helmer.
“I personally enjoy using the service, and have no qualms with it,” he said.
During the ride-sharing debate, Helmer emerged as the most vocal on regulating the services such as uber or lift. But with Airbnb, Helmer says they are much more accommodating.
“Unlike other online service businesses, Airbnb has been more than accommodating to municipalities,” he said.
“They even offer a toolkit to cities, with the intention to allow for proper discussion between council and company to compromise on regulating certain areas.”
That explains the hold up of Airbnb coming before council, but the question still remains; should it be regulated?
“What most people don’t understand is that Airbnb is already regulated internally,” said Candace Keeling, a realtor for Keller Williams Realty and a host in the city.
“When you want to rent a room, you need to take a photo of your government issued I.D. and send it in. Further, a review system allows for customers to inform others wishing to rent that a host is good or bad,” she said.
Keeling believes Airbnb will revolutionize the room-renting industry.
“It’s not only a great way to meet people from all over, but, I believe the profitability of the business will change the hotel industry forever,” said Keeling.