Sweeping Changes Proposed As Vancouver Fights To Get Units Back Into Rental Housing
According to Vancouver Mayor Greg Robertson, Airbnb is effectively “Vancouver’s largest hotel”. Currently there are thousands of short-term rentals that are believed to be eating into Vancouver’s rental supply. In view of this, the City of Vancouver is proposing sweeping changes in the short-term rental market that will bring at least 1,000 rental units back into the market.
Presently, Vancouver has around 6,000 active listings on various platforms such as Airbnb, Hometogo, VRBO etc. These are not registered and are effectively “illegal” according to the City. The City estimates that at least 70% of the current short-term rentals will be able to continue doing so once its proposed regulations are adopted.
Below are some of the proposed new regulations for short-term rentals in the City of Vancouver:
- Owners or renters would need to obtain a business license to be able to participate in the short-term rental market. This would have to be posted on the relevant platform the property is listed on.
- There would be a one-time activation fee of $54 and an annual fee of $49. These fees are in line with long-term rental units and bed and breakfast businesses currently operating in the Vancouver. By keeping the fees low, the City is encouraging compliance.
- All short-term rental unit operators would have to comply with Federal and Provincial tax requirements, based on the income they generate from the unit.
- Each property would have to ensure that it fits with building safety guidelines and the surrounding neighbourhood.
- A transaction fee of up to 3% that would apply to the guest. This would be comparable to the Provincial Government tax on hotel guests that is currently being levied.
- Only principal residences would qualify. The intent is that long-term investment homes and secondary homes would be returned to the rental market.
The Mayor calls his proposed regulations a “balanced approach”. “Our focus is to protect long-term housing and also that we ensure that people can make supplemental income from short-term rentals”, he said during his press conference.