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Municipalities oppose BC short-term rental rules

Municipalities oppose BC short-term rental rules


Several municipalities in British Columbia are challenging provincial legislation restricting short-term rentals.

Prince George's City Council voted unanimously Monday to ask to leave the Short Term Rental Accommodations Acteven though the city does not meet the qualification requirements.

As part of its plan to restore more units to the long-term rental pool, the province introduced legislation last October to limit short-term rentals to a homeowner's primary residence plus a secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit.

The primary residence requirement takes effect on May 1 and applies to all municipalities with a population of 10,000 or more. Local governments can “opt out” of it each year if their community had a rental vacancy rate of three percent or more for two consecutive years.

A 'now for sale' banner is draped along the side of an apartment building.
Data shows more than 16,000 entire homes are being used as short-term rentals for most of the year in BC, making it more challenging to find affordable long-term rentals, according to the province. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shows Prince George had a job rate of 3.7 percent in 2022 and 2.8 percent in 2023 disqualifying it from an exemption.

The count. Kyle Sampson said the criteria to qualify for an exemption are arbitrary and don't take into account differences between municipalities.

“Every city in BC is different,” Sampson said during Monday's council meeting.

“[The province] hasn't shown much evidence as to why three percent why not an average over several years?”

The count. Brian Skakun told CBC's Dawn Norththat the regulations will hurt the city, which hosts many people looking for short-term rentals.

“We have health care workers who come in for maybe a week, sometimes weekends for emergencies, construction workers, those who come in for hospice care, they rely on these short-term rentals,” he said.

By province, more than 16,000 homesare being used for short-term rentals most of the year, impacting the province's long-term rental market.

“Many local governments have taken action to regulate short-term rentals, but enforcement of the bylaws is a challenge and they have asked the province for more tools and resources,” the province said in a statement released this month.

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Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says news rules to regulate short-term rentals in BC are intended to target short-term rental hosts with multiple listings, often for homes they don't live in.

Skakun said the province is forcing regulations “down their throats.”

“We will fight a good fight [with the province] and we think it's important,” he said.

City councilors from Penticton in the Okanagan Valley passed a motion to oppose the legislation last month.

Council voted 52 to ask the province to further examine “Penticton's unique economy and the role that short-term rentals play in supporting its tourism industry.”

In Parksville on Vancouver Island, a group of property owners is lobbying against short-term rental legislation.

The Resort Drive Advocacy Group consists of a number of vacation home owners in the Resort Drive area of ​​the city, an area that has been purpose-built to accommodate tourists and short-term vacationers.

Judy Thomas, one of the group's members and owner of Seastar Vacation Rentals, says the move will dampen tourism in the area.

“All of our guests who are currently booked for the summer will no longer be able to come and stay in Parksville,” Thomas told CBC News.

“[Resort Drive] has never been part of regular housing stock, they've always been for people to come enjoy this beautiful community and contribute to Parksville's tourism dollars.”

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Airbnb spokesperson Nathan Rotman says BC's legislation to limit short-term rentals will not address the housing crisis and will also make travel less affordable for people coming to and from BC.

BC Premier David Eby has previously indicated that he does not take kindly to landlords renting out multiple units on platforms such as Airbnb.

“The bottom line is when people own multiple apartments and rent them out as private hotels in our province, when we're desperate for long-term housing for people, it's just not acceptable. So we're going to deal with it,” Eby. said last October.

Local governments that meet the opt-out requirements have until February 29 to submit a resolution to the province.

Dawson Creekhas filed a resolution to quit. It is one of only a handful of municipalities to meet provincial requirements to opt out, along with Fort St. John next door.

In an email to CBC News, the province said municipalities “will be updated on the status of their waiver requests once spring regulations are in place for each withdrawal.”




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