Vancouver City Council has voted in principle to green-light new short term rental regulations.
Councillor Geoff Meggs says the program, which would require hosts to get a business license, could free up to 1,000 rental units in the city.
“The framework that Council has agreed in principal to support would protect our long term rental stock by making it much more difficult for whole units to be rented, unless they were the principle residence. So basically we’re saying if it is your principal residence, then you can do short term rental in it.”
But NPA councillor George Affleck wonders however if Airbnb is really creating a rental shortage.
“One of the challenges of the report is the fact that we have to ask ourselves what’s the problem we’re trying to resolve here. There were only 55 complaints about Airbnb in the city this year.”
A year worth of data released by the city last spring found about 5,000 short term rental listings in Vancouver, about three-quarters of them being for an entire residence.
Meggs says with Council approving the basic framework for the plan, the work now moves to consultation about the finer details.
He says key issues there include the licensing fee, and unanswered questions about how to handle short-term rental of secondary suites.
He says he expects a bylaw to be put to a Council vote by early spring.
Late last month, the city unveiled details of proposed new rules for short term rentals, including through sites like Airbnb.
They would require hosts to obtain a business license, and to post their license number in any advertisement for the rental.
Hosts would also need to prove control of the home via title or tax assessment, and that it is not in violation of strata bylaws.
The city would also refuse licenses for rentals in non-principal residences.
The city’s full report on short term rentals can be read here.
With files from Janet Brown