As The City of Vancouver looks at the impact of short-term rentals on Vancouver’s rental stock, some Vancouver-based entrepreneurs are cashing in on the popularity of sites like AirBnB.
Igor Kostin started a company called “BnB Care” to manage investment properties used solely for short-term rentals in Vancouver.
“So basically we represent the owner of the apartment or the house for the guest and take care of communication.”
He says he has 40 clients and manages 70 properties, with some clients listing up to five investment homes on the site at a time.
“The normal rate is 20% of the nightly rental rate.”
AirBnB impacts affordable housing
UBC student Iain Marjoribanks, whose completed a study on AirBnB including the prevalence of commercial hosts, says the practice has a negative impact on the availability of affordable housing.
“A lot of properties that are being rented as AirBnB’s were formally long-term rentals that people we living in year-round.”
“That’s obviously a way that the owners can maximize their profits without having to actually get in to the business of being a hospitality professional.”
Marjoribanks says 53% of AirBnB landlords in Vancouver are commercial hosts who don’t live in the homes they rent out.
For his part, Kostin says he supports the regulation and taxation of AirBnB as the site, and spin-off companies like his, currently operate in a grey zone.
Vision Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs says he’s not particularly concerned about commercial hosts, but rather violations of city bylaws which prohibit short-term rentals under 30 days excluding hotels and bed and breakfasts.
“Where I have the greatest anxiety is where I see rental housing that would otherwise be long-term rental being improperly rented out this way. That could also be occurring in condominiums and alot of people are frustrated with their strata councils for not cracking down on that.”
City needs to be more proactive
But NPA city councillor Melissa DeGenova blames Vision Vancouver for not being proactive in dealing with AirBnB.
“Right now with no policy unfortunately what I’m hearing is this is overtaking the market . It certainly is infringing on the rental vacancy rate which is below 0.5% in the City of Vancouver and it’s driving rents up.”
A staff report including recommendations on how to regulate short-term rentals is expected this fall.