The City of Vancouver is proposing a new business license for short-term rentals in principal residences, whether owned or rented.
This means short-term rental hosts, like those listing on Airbnb, will be required to post the license number in any advertisement for the rental.
Residents looking to obtain the license would have to prove control of the home, like a copy of the title or tax assessment, and strata bylaws must not prohibit it.
Mayor Gregor Robertson says short-term rentals would remain illegal in non-principal homes.
He says rental housing is “at a crisis point” with “dangerously low vacancy rates.” Adding that 99 per cent of short-term rentals in the city are either illegal or in breach of regulations.
“Our proposed approach to short-term rentals could restore over 1000 rental homes back into the market,” said Robertson.
Director of licensing Andrea Toma says there will be an auditing process, host could lose license for min. 12 months #vanpoli
— Shelby Thom (@ShelbyThom980) September 28, 2016
Chief licensing inspector Andrea Toma says it will be enforced through an auditing system.
“Proactive enforcement is always monitoring short-term rental listings. Those would a permit will get a deadline to get a license, or remove their ad. Operators who refuse will be subject to legal fines and legal action.”
Toma says the city does not want to see multiple condos and apartments listed for short-term rental.
The city adds that Airbnb has been cooperating and providing feedback.
The proposed framework will be going to council next week. Final recommendations will be ready by early 2017.
Airbnb fights back
As the city announced the new proposed regulations for short-term rentals, Airbnb is fighting back, claiming it is not having a dramatic effect on Vancouver’s housing market.
In the report released by Airbnb ahead of the city’s announcement, head economist Peter Coles says Airbnb is not driving housing prices, hosts tend to rent only occasionally, and they earn a “modest but meaningful” supplemental income.
The report says of just over 8,500 listings, almost half host fewer than 30 nights.
Airbnb says most entire home listings in Vancouver earn around $6,630 annually.
It says only 320 listings home share frequently enough to financially outcompete a long term tenant, equivalent to 0.11 per cent of almost 300,000 housing units in Vancouver.
The report concludes drivers of housing prices are not responsive to a “small-scale, immediate-term” resident behaviour like occasional short-term rental.
“Airbnb is glad to see the City of Vancouver is moving forward toward an inclusive consultation process. We look forward to seeing the full report tomorrow and remain hopeful that Vancouver will become the first major Canadian city to develop fair, easy-to-follow regulations that support home sharing,” Airbnb spokesperson Alex Dagg told CKNW via email.
He says the popular short-term rental site will continue to work with the city by sharing their data and information about the community.
The statement says that hosting on Airbnb in Vancouver helps everyday people afford their homes.