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Airbnb offers $250 bonus for first-time hosts in Toronto

The recruitment incentive has also been offered in Vancouver.

Airbnb is looking to attract new hosts in Toronto.

Airbnb is looking to attract new hosts in Toronto.

Airbnb is making a recruiting pitch to potential Toronto hosts in the midst of calls for regulation of short-term rental services and concern about their impact on the rental market.

The site is offering first-time Toronto hosts a $250 bonus for registering their spaces through Wednesday.

The company is running a similar promotion in Vancouver, The Canadian Press reported.

“This promotion was designed to encourage more people to share their permanent homes on the Airbnb platform and help travellers experience Toronto through the eyes of locals,” Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty wrote in a statement to Metro.

“We are actively engaged in conversations with Toronto policymakers to create clear, fair rules that allow regular people to continue sharing their homes with travellers around the world and using their earnings to help make ends meet.”

Tom Slee, a member of the Fairbnb coalition, a group that’s advocating for regulation around short-term rentals, said it’s a surprising move by the company.

“Business is growing fast, and if their business is growing fast, you wouldn’t think they’d have to pay to get new hosts,” he said.

“Especially in Toronto, it’s growing like crazy.”

Slee, an independent researcher who has written a book on the sharing economy, said his research shows Airbnb listings in Toronto have jumped from about 5,000 to more than 10,000 in the last year.

The recruitment campaign may be an attempt to spread use around and attract more people who use it to occasionally rent out spare rooms, he said.

That way, he added, it’s easier for Airbnb to “hold on to this picture of it being an occasional thing.”

The Fairbnb coalition has raised red flags about the impact short-term rental services have on the rental market, particularly when hosts rent out entire units that otherwise could be leased by long-term tenants.

According to the company’s recruitment ad, hosts must be located within 25 miles of downtown Toronto — with University Ave. and Dundas St. W. used as the central point.

The company is also hiring a press secretary based in Toronto to deal with Canadian media, according to an ad on LinkedIn.

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