The Mayor of Vancouver says he’s “very concerned” AirBnB is encouraging prospective hosts to ignore city bylaws.
At a “host meetup” this week a host-educator told the crowd to only worry about getting approval from their strata corporation, property management company or landlord.
Short-term rentals under 30 days are actually banned under city bylaws unless its a hotel or bed and breakfast.
Gregor Robertson says the city is still working with the company to determine its impact on the rental market.
“We want to make sure we got rental housing available. Obviously we are losing some to AirBnB rentals but there are some benefits as well. We are working with the company so hopefully they aren’t saying this stuff and compounding the problem.”
“That would be very concerning if AirBnB was in fact communicating that. We are working with them to resolve some of the issues and data in terms of how many households here are part of AirBnB? They’ve worked with other cities successfully” he adds.
AirBnB is resistant to providing private information about its clients to the city, but Robertson says the company “is willing to work” with them.
LISTEN: CKNW’s Shelby Thom goes inside the world of AirBnB hosts
Inside the world of AirBnB hosts
As the City of Vancouver studies short-term rental sites like AirBnB, the company skyrocketing in popularity is hosting “meet ups” around the city to encourage prospective hosts to list their units through the online site.
Dunbar AirBnB “host educator” Lynda Williams welcomed a dozen strangers into her home to provide information on how it all works.
Williams insists many hosts are just trying to make ends meet.
“They are really mid-income people that are looking at ways of being able to live and stay in their own homes or make ends meet in a very expensive city.”
Despite city bylaws banning short-term rentals under 30 days outside of hotels and bed and breakfasts, Williams told the crowd the building’s strata laws are what’s important.
“My message is to please check it out. We absolutely do not encourage anybody to list a property that is going to be a problem for them or for us or the guests. Check into what they are allowed to do, whether they can get special permission from a management company or a landlord, that they need to do that and to be honest.”
One woman, who asked not to be identified, says she purchased a Coal Harbour condo as an investment property.
She plans to rent it out through AirBnB for $330 per night, hoping to earn $6,000 a month.
She’s asked about the impact the online service could be having on Vancouver’s dismal rental vacancy rate.
“Look at it how much has Vancouver’s population grown since last ten years. How many apartments have been built? It’s not just AirBnB. That is maybe one percent of the problem.”
Another attendee says his daughter purchased an Olympic Village condo but needs AirBnB to make the mortgage payments, while a renter plans on sub-leasing her unit while she is away this summer.