Pivot Legal Society made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out which DTES hotels are renting by the day and week. Last month they got the info they requested, or, rather, 13% of the information they requested.
Under the Single Room Accom. bylaw hotels are allowed to rent out 10% of their rooms by the day and week to tourists. The other 90% have to be rented monthly to local residents. But it has been hard for city inspectors, to say nothing of the rest of us, to figure out if hotels are really renting only 10% of rooms daily or weekly. That’s because the hotels kept switching rooms they rented daily and weekly.
So the city told owners they had to give them a list of the room numbers of the rooms they rented daily (not weekly for some reason). Owners were supposed to give the city this list by Sept. 1st.
Pivot got the list from the city with their FOI request. 161 hotels are on the list and only 21 replied, listing the room number of the rooms they rent daily. That’s 13%.
Here’s what some of them said:
Columbia Hotel: 6 rooms rented daily (do any of you readers know if this is true?)
C&N Backpackers Hostel: 33 (this is 100%, not 10% of their rooms, probably illegal)
Ivanhoe: 10 rented daily all with 500 numbers (you can see bunk beds on all floors if you look in the Ivanhoe windows from Main St.-are they renting daily on the other floors?)
Hotel St. Clair: 27 or 100%. A note says this hotel has applied for an exemption to the SRA bylaw.
It is important to stay on top of this. Potentially 400 rooms out of 4000 rooms can be rented daily/weekly. That is a lot of rooms not available to renters who need long term housing. These rooms are not covered by the residential tenancy act which means tenants have no protection against eviction. Come the Olympics, how tempting will it be for owners to go over the limit, especially if the city has trouble enforcing it. Also, owners can empty out a hotel more easily by gradually increasing the daily/weekly rooms through attrition. CCAP wants the city to revoke this bylaw and protect this important temporary accommodation for DTES residents.