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Meeting the High Demand for Short-Term Rentals: The Role of Multi-Plex Buildings in Canada

The housing market in Canada is experiencing a surge in demand for short-term rentals. This trend is driven by various factors such as increased tourism, business travel, and the rise of remote work. Multi-plex buildings, which include duplexes, triplexes, and larger apartment complexes, are uniquely positioned to cater to this growing demand for short-term rental options. This blog will explore how multi-plex buildings can meet the needs of the short-term rental market in Canada, the benefits for property owners, and the challenges and considerations involved.

Understanding the Demand for Short-Term Rentals

Key Drivers of Demand for Short-Term Rentals:

  1. Tourism: Canada’s diverse landscapes and vibrant cities attract millions of tourists each year.

  2. Business Travel: Major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are business hubs that see a constant influx of business travelers.

  3. Remote Work and Digital Nomadism: The rise of remote work has led to an increase in digital nomads who prefer short-term stays in various locations.

  4. Events and Conferences: Canada hosts numerous events, conferences, and festivals, creating demand for temporary accommodations.

Key Statistics:

  • According to Statistics Canada, tourism in Canada reached 22.1 million international visitors in 2019, highlighting the significant demand for temporary accommodation.

  • The short-term rental market in Canada has grown by 22% annually over the past five years, driven by platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.

  • A survey by Expedia Group found that 40% of business travelers prefer staying in short-term rentals over traditional hotels.

How Multi-Plex Buildings Cater to Short-Term Rental Demand

Multi-plex buildings are well-suited to meet the needs of the short-term rental market. Here are several ways in which these buildings can provide the desired rental options:

  1. Variety of Units and Configurations

Multi-plex buildings offer a range of unit sizes and layouts, from studios and one-bedroom apartments to larger multi-bedroom units. This variety caters to different types of short-term renters, including solo travelers, families, and groups.

Example: A triplex in Montreal offers a studio, a one-bedroom, and a two-bedroom unit, attracting a mix of tourists, business travelers, and digital nomads.

  1. Prime Locations

Multi-plex buildings are often located in urban areas with easy access to tourist attractions, business centers, and public transportation. This prime location is attractive to short-term renters who prioritize convenience.

Example: An apartment complex in downtown Toronto offers proximity to the CN Tower, financial district, and public transit, appealing to both tourists and business travelers.

  1. Fully Furnished Units

Short-term renters typically prefer fully furnished accommodations that provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay. Multi-plex buildings can offer furnished units with modern amenities, making them an attractive option for temporary stays.

Example: A multi-plex in Vancouver’s West End features fully furnished units with high-speed internet, kitchen appliances, and laundry facilities, catering to short-term renters.

  1. Flexible Leasing Options

Flexibility in lease terms is a major advantage for short-term renters. Multi-plex buildings can offer daily, weekly, and monthly rental options, accommodating various lengths of stay.

Example: A multi-plex building in Ottawa provides nightly and weekly rentals, making it suitable for tourists and business travelers attending short-term events.

  1. Affordability Compared to Hotels

Multi-plex buildings often provide more affordable rental options compared to hotels, especially for longer stays. The cost-effectiveness of these units makes them appealing to budget-conscious travelers.

Example: A duplex in Halifax offers competitive nightly rates that are lower than nearby hotels, attracting tourists seeking affordable accommodations.

  1. Home-Like Comforts

Many short-term renters prefer the comfort and privacy of a home-like environment over the impersonal feel of a hotel. Multi-plex buildings can provide this home-like experience with private entrances, kitchens, and living spaces.

Example: A multi-plex in Quebec City features units with private balconies, fully equipped kitchens, and separate living areas, creating a homely atmosphere for short-term renters.

  1. Community-Oriented Living

Multi-plex buildings can foster a sense of community among short-term renters with shared spaces and amenities. This community-oriented living is attractive to travelers who enjoy social interactions and networking.

Example: A multi-plex in Calgary includes a shared courtyard, rooftop terrace, and communal lounge, creating opportunities for short-term renters to interact and build connections.

  1. Technology and Modern Amenities

Short-term renters expect modern amenities such as high-speed internet, smart home technologies, and streaming services. Multi-plex buildings can offer these features to meet the expectations of tech-savvy travelers.

Example: An apartment building in Toronto is equipped with smart locks, high-speed internet, and app-controlled thermostats, catering to the needs of short-term renters.

Benefits for Property Owners

Investing in multi-plex buildings for short-term rentals offers several benefits for property owners:

  1. Higher Rental Income

Short-term rentals typically generate higher rental income per unit compared to long-term leases. The ability to charge higher nightly rates and maintain high occupancy rates can lead to increased profitability.

Example: A multi-plex in Vancouver generates higher rental income through short-term rentals, with nightly rates that are significantly higher than traditional long-term leases.

  1. Flexibility in Tenant Management

Short-term rentals provide property owners with greater flexibility in tenant management. They can adjust rental rates based on demand, offer promotions during off-peak seasons, and quickly address maintenance issues between stays.

Example: A multi-plex owner in Toronto adjusts nightly rates based on seasonality and local events, maximizing occupancy and rental income.

  1. Diversification of Income Streams

By offering short-term rentals, property owners can diversify their income streams and reduce dependency on long-term tenants. This diversification can mitigate the risk of vacancies and ensure a steady flow of income.

Example: A multi-plex in Montreal includes a mix of long-term and short-term rental units, providing a balanced income stream for the property owner.

  1. Tax Benefits

Property owners can benefit from tax deductions related to short-term rental operations, such as maintenance, utilities, and marketing expenses. These deductions can improve the overall financial performance of the property.

Example: A duplex owner in Calgary claims tax deductions for expenses related to short-term rental operations, reducing the overall tax burden.

  1. Increased Property Value

Well-maintained multi-plex buildings that cater to the short-term rental market can experience increased property value. High occupancy rates and positive reviews can enhance the property’s reputation and attract potential buyers.

Example: A multi-plex in Ottawa sees an increase in property value due to its successful short-term rental operations and positive guest feedback.

Challenges and Considerations

While multi-plex buildings offer significant advantages for short-term rentals, there are challenges and considerations that must be addressed:

  1. Regulatory Compliance

Short-term rentals are subject to various regulations and bylaws at the municipal level. Property owners must ensure compliance with all local regulations to avoid legal issues and fines.

Example: In Toronto, short-term rental operators must register with the city, comply with zoning bylaws, and adhere to occupancy limits.

  1. Property Management

Effective property management is crucial to maintaining the quality and appeal of short-term rentals. Owners must be prepared to handle guest relations, cleaning, maintenance, and operational issues to ensure positive guest experiences.

Example: Hiring a professional property management company can help multi-plex owners manage the day-to-day operations of short-term rentals, ensuring efficient and effective management.

  1. Market Competition

The short-term rental market is competitive, with many properties vying for guests. Owners must differentiate their multi-plex buildings through strategic marketing, high-quality amenities, and excellent customer service to attract and retain guests.

Example: Offering unique amenities such as rooftop gardens, fitness centers, or pet-friendly units can set a multi-plex building apart from competitors.

  1. Financial Viability

The initial investment costs for multi-plex buildings, including acquisition, renovations, and furnishings, can be substantial. Owners must carefully evaluate the financial viability of the project and secure appropriate financing to support their investment strategy.

Example: Leveraging government programs and incentives for energy-efficient upgrades can help offset renovation costs and improve the financial feasibility of the project.

Case Study: Successful Short-Term Rentals in a Multi-Plex Building

Scenario: An investor owns a multi-plex building in Vancouver, consisting of five units designed to cater to the short-term rental market.

  1. Building Features:

  • The units range from studios to two-bedroom apartments, providing options for different types of short-term renters.

  • The building is located in a prime area with easy access to tourist attractions, business centers, and public transportation.

  • Each unit is fully furnished with modern amenities, including high-speed internet, smart home technologies, and streaming services.

  1. Target Demographics:

  • Tourists seeking affordable and comfortable accommodations near popular attractions.

  • Business travelers attending conferences and meetings in the city.

  • Digital nomads and remote workers looking for temporary housing with reliable internet and workspaces.

  1. Marketing Strategy:

  • The building is listed on multiple short-term rental platforms, including Airbnb, Vrbo, and

  • High-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and positive guest reviews are used to attract potential guests.

  • Seasonal promotions and discounts are offered to maximize occupancy during off-peak periods.

  1. Results:

  • The building achieves high occupancy rates year-round, with a diverse mix of guests.

  • Positive guest feedback highlights the quality of the units, the convenience of the location, and the responsiveness of the property management team.

  • The property generates higher rental income compared to traditional long-term leases, with a steady flow of revenue from short-term rentals.

Government Support and Incentives

Governments at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels in Canada are increasingly recognizing the importance of short-term rentals in addressing the housing needs of travelers and temporary residents. Various support programs and incentives are available to encourage the development of short-term rental housing:

  1. Federal Initiatives

The federal government, through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), offers several programs to support the development of rental housing. These include low-interest loans, grants, and tax incentives for developers who build or renovate multi-plex buildings for short-term rentals.

Example: The National Housing Strategy (NHS) aims to create more rental housing units across Canada through funding and financing options for developers.

  1. Provincial Programs

Provincial governments also offer programs and incentives to promote rental housing. These may include direct funding for rental housing projects, tax credits, and regulatory support to streamline the development process.

Example: Ontario’s Affordable Housing Program provides funding to municipalities and non-profit organizations to develop rental housing, including short-term rental units.

  1. Municipal Support

Municipal governments play a crucial role in supporting short-term rentals through zoning policies, land-use regulations, and financial incentives. Cities can offer density bonuses, reduced development charges, and expedited permitting processes for rental housing projects.

Example: Vancouver’s Rental 100 program provides incentives to developers who create 100% rental housing, including short-term rental units, by waiving development cost levies and fast-tracking approvals.


The high demand for short-term rentals in Canada presents a significant opportunity for property owners and investors. Multi-plex buildings, with their ability to provide a variety of unit sizes, prime locations, modern amenities, and flexible lease terms, offer a viable solution to meet this demand. By catering to the needs of tourists, business travelers, and digital nomads, multi-plex buildings can generate higher rental income, provide flexible tenant management, and diversify income streams.

However, property owners must navigate regulatory, management, competitive, and financial challenges to capitalize on these opportunities. Government support and incentives at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels can play a crucial role in encouraging the development of short-term rental housing.

As the housing market continues to evolve, the development of multi-plex buildings will be essential in meeting the diverse needs of Canada’s growing short-term rental market. By focusing on the preferences and values of short-term renters, multi-plex buildings can help create vibrant, connected, and resilient communities for the future.


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