As the rental market continues to struggle to stabilize after a string of major downturns, some Canadian residents are now taking to Airbnb to try to make a more affordable living.
The company, which has been under fire for being under-regulated by governments and regulatory agencies, says its new system is “the safest way to rent” for people living in the country without the luxury of a hotel.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company will soon start accepting Canadian Airbnb listings in Canada.
He said the new system will make it “easy” to find a place to stay when the market becomes “safer” for Canadians.
Airbnb is already in the process of opening up listings in a few other Canadian cities, including Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina.
Airbnb has faced scrutiny for its role in the collapse of the property-sharing service TenantRight, which collapsed amid the financial crisis in 2008 and the subsequent Great Recession.
Airbnb declined to comment for this story.
Airbnb said in March that it had “a lot of work to do” to make sure its platform is safer.
Airbnb’s new system, known as “the Airbnb Safer,” allows people to choose what to put in the listings they make.
If they choose to stay in their room or apartment, Airbnb provides them with a link to a “safe” website where they can review their listings.
In the meantime, the Airbnb Safers also have a simple option to report potential safety issues to Airbnb.
Airbnb says the system can be “totally anonymous” and allows users to leave a rating or a comment about the safety of their listings, which can then be used by Airbnb to contact the owner.
Airbnb hosts can also choose to let the user know they have reported a safety issue, and then they can cancel the listing.
Airbnb and Airbnb Canada, the company that runs the system, have not yet provided a breakdown of how much each listing costs, but Airbnb has said it’s working on that.
Airbnb also says its Safer system is the “safest way to book an Airbnb room in Canada.”
The system allows hosts to decide if they would like to keep their listing as an Airbnb safer, and if so, they can choose whether to have a link provided to notify guests of the safe status.
Airbnb confirmed that it has launched the system in Ottawa, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.
Airbnb Canada also said it has not yet launched its system in Toronto, but it is working on it.
Airbnb told The Globe that it is “very excited” about the launch in Ottawa.
Airbnb will not disclose the price of the listings, but said they will be “very affordable” and would be available for “a limited time.”
Airbnb said it will soon launch a “top-level” service for users in Toronto.
Airbnb did not respond to a request for comment from The Globe on whether it would make the Toronto service available in other Canadian locations.
Airbnb hopes to launch a Toronto service later this year.
Airbnb does not currently have a formal partnership with the city, which would require Airbnb to provide information on how it will collect and use data on the listings it hosts.
Airbnb already has a partnership with Toronto Mayor John Tory, who has vowed to create a new Airbnb pilot project in Toronto by the end of this year and is considering building a large housing complex.
Airbnb could launch a similar pilot project for the Toronto area, but says it has no plans to do so at this time.
Airbnb spokesperson David Mello told The Post that the company plans to open up its Toronto site “soon.”
Airbnb has also said that it will begin to operate a pilot in Toronto in January, but has not said when.
Airbnb, which is now based in the United States, has been struggling in Canada for months as it struggled to rein in a ballooning number of listings that were created in Canada without the same level of scrutiny that was applied to US-based platforms like Airbnb and Homejoy.
Airbnb had been struggling to find ways to control the numbers of listings created in the U.S. That has left Airbnb scrambling to find new ways to regulate the site, which it believes is ripe for abuse.
Airbnb warned in February that its service in the US could become “the next big thing” when regulators in the two countries launch a new global regulatory framework for the online rental marketplace.
Airbnb last month launched a series of “reform” measures in the wake of the financial meltdown that have made it less attractive to U.s. investors, including limits on the number of listing slots available to hosts and a “temporary” ban on new listings.
Airbnb was also forced to shut down its website in the aftermath of the Great Recession, a move that has left many users without a way to get around that restriction.
Airbnb issued a “Notice of Intent to Resign” to its top executives last month.
In its letter to Airbnb CEO, Chesky, Mr. Chesky