In July, the City of Vancouver announced strict regulations banning short-term rentals on investment properties, second homes, laneway houses and basement suites, limiting such rentals to principal residences.
Fairbnb argued in their report, published September 12, that if passed, the regulations will be ineffective unless short-term rental site AirBnB complies by regularly auditing and removing illegal listings from its platform.
The Fairbnb report suggests establishing a permit system for hosts wanting to list on AirBnB, to ensure that all properties listed on the platform are approved, legal and compliant with city bylaws.
The City's proposed regulations come as a response to growing concerns over record-low rental inventory throughout Vancouver, a shortage caused in part by the popularity of vacation rental sites such as AirBnB. According to a report published by McGill University on August 8, the AirBnB platform has caused the removal of as many as 14,000 long-term rental units from the rental supply in downtown Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Under the current legislature, thousands of units currently listed on AirBnB Vancouver are technically illegal, as they are not units in licensed bed and breakfasts nor hotels, according to the City of Vancouver website.
"Vancouver’s lack of platform accountability measures and its reliance on negotiating a special deal with the $30 billion company effectively leaves AirBnB off the hook for taking responsibility for unlawful properties that might be advertised and rented through the platform once regulation is enacted," the Fairbnb report stated, "Without platform accountability measures, we predict, AirBnB will continue its feast on Vancouver’s rental housing market. No measure of goodwill or talk is going to avoid this scenario, unless AirBnB and other short-term rental companies are made to re-tool their platforms to effectively enforce the city’s own rules and regulations."
If passed, the City's new regulations will come into effect in April 2018.