April 24th, 2020

NDP calls on province to enforce COVID-19 short-term rental rules as reports of parties continue

QUEEN’S PARK — Chris Glover, NDP MPP for Spadina–Fort York, is calling on the Ford government to enforce its emergency order curbing short-term rentals, saying his office continues to receive reports of parties being held in short-term rental units following a stabbing in one building just a few weeks ago.

Spadina–Fort York is home to thousands of condos, many of which are hotspots for short-term rentals. Ashkam Saeidi, who lives in the building where the stabbing took place, says people in his neighbourhood appear to be violating the emergency order.

“Even during the pandemic, I have seen people checking in for short-term rentals and partying on balconies,” said Saeidi. “This means more people — including strangers to the building — passing through common areas where COVID-19 can spread, like the elevators, halls and lobby.

“I was already worried about short-term rentals before the pandemic, because of incidents of theft and violence. Now, with COVID-19 in Ontario, I have only become more worried about the health and safety of my family.”

The province put an emergency order in place prohibiting short-term rentals for leisure purposes, and Glover wants that to be more than lip-service — he wants the premier to enforce the rule.

“During the pandemic, parties are not safe. And holding parties in short-term rentals is a dangerous practice that puts building residents at risk, and prolongs the isolation we’re all enduring,” said Glover. “The law is clear, and it’s time for the government to enforce its order curbing short-term rentals so we can protect all of our communities from COVID-19.”