(File photo)

Vancouver’s short-term rental listings drop by half after new rules introduced

There are 3,742 active Vancouver listings on sites like Airbnb, compared with about 6,600 in April, when the regulations were introduced, the city said Wednesday.

The City of Vancouver says the number of short-term rentals listed online has dropped by almost half since new rules came into effect requiring operators to have a business licence.

There are 3,742 active Vancouver listings on sites like Airbnb, compared with about 6,600 in April, when the regulations were introduced, the city said Wednesday.

Kaye Krishna, the city’s general manager of development, buildings and licensing, called the early results of the efforts to regulate short-term rentals “very promising.”

“As we move forward with continued public education and increased enforcement we expect to see the short-term rental market stabilize,” Krishna said in a statement.

As of Sept. 1, operators must have a business licence, which costs $49 annually, and must include the licence number in their listing. Operators can only advertise their main residence and must have permission from their landlord or condo board, or they could face fines of up to $1,000 a day on each platform where the rental is advertised.

The city says it has one of the highest initial compliance rates by any major city globally, with 2,640 short-term licences issued, representing about 70 per cent of existing listings.

When the new rules were announced earlier this year, Mayor Gregor Robertson said they were intended to protect and free up rental housing in response to a critically low vacancy rate.

Most of the listings taken off the market were the result of an agreement the city signed with Airbnb. The online platform has deactivated 2,482 Vancouver listings that did not include a business licences.

The agreement also means long-term rental operators can no longer accept rentals of less than 30 days. In addition to the unlicensed listings removed by Airbnb, more than 660 listing were removed or converted to long-term rentals by individuals in response to the new rules, the city said.

Related: Airbnb to collect provincial sales tax in B.C.

Related: B.C. moves to crack down on short-term condo rentals

Expedia, which is the second-largest platform in Vancouver, has also agreed to add a field where business licence numbers can be added to their online listings on VRBO.

After introducing new rules in April, the city allowed a registration window for operators to comply through Aug. 31, and also began enforcement for unsafe dwellings and commercial operations that would clearly not meet the new regulations.

It has investigated more than 2,650 listings and says that since Sept. 1, 294 new addresses have been flagged for non-compliance and are subject to enforcement.

“The short-term rental program will continue to strengthen as the city expands its data sources and ongoing dialogue with multiple partners,” the city said in a statement.

Residents are encouraged to continue to report suspected illegal short-term rentals.

Jens von Bergmann, principal at MountainMath Software and Analytics, said Airbnb’s agreement to share data with the city such as the address and business licence for a listing represents a new model for Canada.

But there are still some operators bending the rules on the platform, based his own analysis of the data, von Bergmann said.

In one case, a business licence has been used for multiple properties, he said. In another, an operator appears to falsely present their listing as a hotel or other commercial enterprise that would be exempt from this type of business licence.

But Bergmann said he sees the city’s initial results as positive.

“It looks encouraging. I think the real test is, will those listings that are right now clearly non-compliant disappear?”

“The other test will be how many fines are actually levied.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Harrison Festival to share the culture behind the music

Festival director Andy Hillhouse will be talking about nationalism in music, starting March 1

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Another snowfall warning for Lower Mainland

Another 5-10 cm expected for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Sunshine Coast

Harrison to participate in inter-municipal business licence program

Construction companies and related businesses will be able to work across the Fraser Valley in 2020

Saskia and Darrel kick off spring tour with Chilliwack concert

Stories of the Great Plains delivered in Gaelic, French and more

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

5 to start your day

Australian woman dies in avalanche at Whistler, two boys OK after falling through Coquitlam lake and more

Australian woman killed in avalanche at Whistler

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but she did not survive

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

Coquihalla closed near snowshed

Highway 5 northbound is closed, but a detour via Box Canyon Chain up area is in effect.

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Most Read