As the City of Vancouver looks to regulate AirBnB, one small B.C. town says it’s well on its way.
Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne says at least 12 AirBnB hosts have applied for a business license since the district announced a crackdown on short-term rentals in mid-March.
“We’ve hired a firm who is helping us do some data mining on the Internet and they are coming up with all of the independent properties that are listed online and we are able to compare that with our business license data base and then we will be approaching those properties.”
But Osborne says even with outside help, getting a handle on the problem is a challenge.
“Really this is like a game of whack-a-mole. Somebody has a listing on one site and then they move and they take it off there and they can put it on another site and move it around that way hopefully remaining undetected. What we are trying to do is let people know we will be able to find them and issue them a letter asking for compliance with our bylaw.”
READ MORE: Inside the world of Vancouver AirBnB hosts
Osborne says AirBnB hosts must meet zoning requirements and pay a $375 annual fee for a business license.
She says enforcement in the way of fines will begin early next year.
There are 341 independent properties listed on short-term rental sites in Tofino and only 135 business licenses, so Osborne says there’s more work to be done.