Ottawa Matters: Fatal shooting at Airbnb validates stricter rules on rental platform: McKenney

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By Chris Kurys

Once Airbnb regulations are in place, residents should feel safer, according to Somerset ward City Councillor Catherine McKenney. 

Their ward covers the Centretown neighbourhood -- the site of a fatal shooting at an Airbnb unit on Gilmour Street. 

On Wednesday, January 8, a suspect fired at four men, including a 15-year-old boy. One of the victims, Manyok Akol, 18, died from his injuries. 

Short-term rental regulations, passed by Ottawa City Council in November, are aimed at eliminating "ghost hotels," but will take several months to come into effect.

"We are having to rely on hearing from people to know that (listings) are active, where they're occurring," said McKenney.

Once the regulations come into effect, the Councillor explained that if a listing doesn't meet the required criteria, the City of Ottawa will be able to move in much quicker and start the process for closing them down.

"It's difficult right now.... Residents are upset, and rightfully so. (Residents are) calling on us to do something," said McKenney, adding, "Everybody wants this to happen as soon as possible."

Aside from making neighbourhood's safer, the Somerset Councillor also believes the rules will help overall rental affordability in the city.

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