The City of Vancouver is proposing (and we all know what that means) some new regulations on owners of real estate who use their residences or investments as income-generators on AirBnB or other vacation rental websites. Of course, this is yet another cash grab and they have claimed this will free up to 1,000 rentals in Vancouver.
The current rules are that zoning regulations do not allow short-term rentals under 30 days unless you are a licensed bed and breakfast. However, we all know people do not listen to the rules, and who is to blame them? I get it if you want to make everyone who uses property they own as am AirBnB have a licence – fair enough. But you cannot keep telling people what to do with their homes they own. Many people work very hard to afford a home in this city and then are told by the city what they can or cannot do. For me, that just does not make sense.
I know so many people who have a home worth a couple million who do not want a long-term tenant but need to AirBnB every now and then to help out. The City, along with many people, think that anyone who owns a home over a million is insanely rich. But those people work very hard to afford their homes and want to enjoy it without someone living below them.
On top of that, there are many horrible renters out there and they are protected by the Residential Tenancy Act, which makes people not want to do long-term rentals. Ever had a hoarder in your rental? Makes short-term or AirBnB look even more attractive. But once that lease is signed it is a free-for-all, according to the Act.
To give you the quick lowdown, the proposed new rules are as such:
Owners and renters (although the owner probably would not allow a renter) would be allowed to rent part or all of their principal residence on a nightly basis, if they have a business licence. To get a short-term rental business licence you would need to prove it is your principal residence by submitting your property title or a tenancy agreement along with photo ID and recent government or utility mail. Laneway homes, secondary suites, investment units and second homes will not be allowed to be rented out short-term. The City will audit licence applications to prevent fraud – and I am sure this process will be done very fast, just like our building permits! Licensed operators would need to post their licence number in all online advertising. People operating rentals without a business licence will face fines and legal action – which of course equals money to the City.
Here is my quick solution.
If the City wants to free up long-term rentals, why don't they change the regulations on strata corporations who have rental restrictions? Make it so that you cannot restrict the amount of rentals allowed in buildings. This would literally solve the rental crisis overnight and thousands and thousands of rental condos would come to market.
On the flip side of that solution, however, I do think it would mean fewer condos for sale, because now all these people who are forced to sell when they need to upsize, downsize, move out of town, etc., can hold their properties and rent them out.