The city of Vancouver wants to crack down on Airbnb units, but we will have to wait till tomorrow to see how.
Councillor Geoff Meggs says illegal Airbnb units are eating up rental stock the City is working hard to create to house people who live and work here.
Meggs says whatever the solution is, it will likely involve some sort of fee levied by the City.
“So the rents are being driven up by the actions of people who are acting illegally, I think we need to put the need to protect rental stock ahead of the individual decisions of certain people who may have hardships but may also be speculative.”
Meggs says enforcement is a challenge and the province can help via the Residential Tenancy Branch.
“The city philosophy has been to support short term rental, but the wholesale rental of buildings in lots of rental units is clearly having a negative impact on communities, and it’s having, in my view, obviously a deleterious impact on our vacancy rate. So, we are not supporting developer rental housing in the city and protecting rental housing just so it’s used by the tourism sector.”
He adds any solution decided on would likely include some kind of fee.
His motion to deal with Airbnb has been deferred to Wednesday in order to hear from speakers.
Tenants speaking out
A woman living in a building near City Hall is raising the alarm over how AirBnB is impacting her and fellow tenants.
“These are illegal hotel businesses in residential buildings.”
Ulrike Rodrigues says tenants in her condo building are worried with strangers renting AirBnB units in the building coming in and out at odd hours.
She says the problem is getting worse.
“Keep in mind two years ago there were only three suites in my building that were AirBnB. A year ago there were six suites. Now just a few months later there are 10 suites.”
Rodrigues says AirBnB is stealing away rental units in the market for low to middle affordability housing.
“In the news there has been a lot of talk about shadow flipping and mansions and that affects occupancy in the high end buildings. My building is a 1970’s old condo and this is where the low and medium affordable housing is being lost.”
She says she called in a building inspector who told her he had been advised the policy was to utilize soft enforcement.
“I did try to lodge complaints through 311. When I checked in with the building inspector he advised me that new policy was being made and he was advised to take a soft enforcement approach.”
A city council motion threatening to crack down on AirBnB operations will be discussed in council Wednesday.