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P.E.I. NDP promises to make affordable housing a priority, tax Airbnb

Decision '19.
Decision '19. - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

P.E.I. NDP Leader Joe Byrne announced Tuesday that his party is committed to ensuring quality, accessible and affordable housing throughout the Island.

A public-sector-led strategy of investment is the cornerstone of the NDP’s plan to prioritize building new homes, increasing public ownership and management, as well as incentives, taxation and regulations to encourage building affordable housing.

“Twenty years of switching between the Liberals and Conservatives has only made life less affordable for too many Islanders,” said Byrne. “Government housing policies of pushing private development and subsidies of the past 20 years have failed. It is time for innovative plans and bold ideas to solve this crisis.”

The NDP will invest in affordable housing by applying a hotel tax on short-term rentals, for example Airbnb units. The party says this kind of tax has been successfully applied in British Columbia, some European countries, Mexico, and the U.S., and is similar to the lodging tax in Quebec.

Other NDP platform promises include publicly owned and operated housing that uses geared-to-income rental rates, and a housing bank to acquire and protect land and buildings which can be used for public housing.

The NDP is also promising to apply the provincial portion of HST (eight or 10 per cent of charges) to short-term rentals, apply the commercial rate of tax to any operation (private home, small building) which gets used for short-term rental and develop more efficient regulations (under the Rental of Residential Property Act) to assure quality construction and upkeep of rental properties and enforce the rules through robust inspection.

For the full platform, go to ndppei.ca/housing/.

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