Kelowna city council will look at proposed rules to allow short-term rentals in secondary suites and carriage houses at its meeting on Monday. (Black Press)

Kelowna city council will look at proposed rules to allow short-term rentals in secondary suites and carriage houses at its meeting on Monday. (Black Press)

Number of short-term rentals down in Vancouver after one year of regulations

Of the 2,000 units, 300 have returned to the long-term rental market

The City of Vancouver says its efforts to regulate short-term rental units and bring more long-term rental options back into the pricey housing market are working.

The number of long-term rental business licenses have increased, with more than 2,100 issued since the city introduced approved regulations for short-term rentals in November 2017.

Active short-term listings are down to around 5,000, compared to more than 6,600 before the regulations took full effect last September, the city said. More than 2,000 unauthorized units that were taken offline have not been re-listed.

Of these 2,000 units, 300 have returned to the long-term rental market, according to research by David Wachsmuth at McGill University’s School of Urban Planning.

Over the last year, the city has also formed partnerships with residents of strata properties, protecting nearly 6,500 long-term housing units in 18 buildings from becoming short-term rentals.

“(The regulations) would speak to some amount of success,” said Tsur Somerville, a senior fellow at University of British Columbia’s centre for urban economics and real estate.

The challenge, he said, is that a small number of units typically account for a disproportionately high number of nights available for short-term accomodations, which points to units being operated like hotels.

“The more Airbnb you have in a city, the higher rents are. There is clearly an interaction,” Somerville said.

So far, city staff have opened more than 3,600 case files and issued and pursued enforcement actions against suspected unauthorized units, including 802 violation tickets resulting in $113,000 in fines. More than 200 business licenses have been suspended, and 120 listings have been referred to prosecution, the city said.

ALSO READ: Airbnb collects double the amount of provincial sales tax expected

Vancouver’s chief license inspector, Kathryn Holm, said she hopes that updates to the short-term rental regulations, approved by city council on Wednesday, will help staff crack down on unauthorized and fraudulent operators.

“If someone does state that their unit they’re getting licenced is their home, but in fact it’s not, we now have greater strength in enforcing against them for misrepresenting themselves in the application process.”

The changes approved this week are to take effect on Jan. 1. Under the changes, false declarations made during the application for a business licence will be an offence under municipal bylaws and could be referred to prosecution.

The annual business license fee is to increase to $99 in 2020, up from $51. City staff say it will help recover the costs of licensing and enforcement.

The bylaw changes also give the chief license inspector the ability to ask for additional information upon request, such as documents relating to billing, taxation, and insurance, to ensure short-term rental operators are indeed listing their principal residence.

Airbnb accounts for 81 per cent of more than 5,000 short-term rental listings in Vancouver. The day before city council approved the regulatory updates, Airbnb announced it remitted $33.7 million generated from provincial sales tax and $9.2 million from the municipal and regional district tax to government coffers in B.C.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart is poised to write a letter to the provincial government calling for an equitable share of the sales tax revenue generated by Vancouver-based hosts, which amounts to $10 million.

The city would use the money for affordable housing initiatives, Holm said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

The Great Gordini puts on a magic show for an avid audience during the first Storytime in the Park in this 2019 photo. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Storytime in the Park returns this summer

Day 1 registration is on June 30

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

Most Read