Vancouver proposes strict new Airbnb regulations
The Vancouver skyline is seen in this undated file photo.
Published Wednesday, July 5, 2017 3:06PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 5, 2017 7:07PM EDT
The City of Vancouver is proposing a ban on all short-term rentals that are not inside a person’s principal residence -- including secondary suites.
That means homeowners would no longer be allowed to list separate basements, granny flats and laneway houses on home-sharing websites like Airbnb.
The regulations are stricter than those proposed in Toronto, which is planning to allow short-term rentals in both principal residences and secondary suites.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson called the new proposal a balanced approach that “will ensure the best use of all our housing.”
“By regulating short-term rentals, the City is protecting long-term rental stock,” he said. “With a 0.8% vacancy rate, every home counts,” he added.
If approved, short-term rental operators in Vancouver would also need to obtain a $49 per year business license and pay a one-time $54 “activation fee.” Operators would be required to list their license numbers on short-term rental sites.
The proposed regulations were cheered by Fairbnb, a coalition that includes hotel owners, residents’ associations and a major hotel workers union.
Mary Todorow, Research and Policy Analyst with the Advocacy Centre for Tenants in Ontario, said she is “encouraged to see that Vancouver will protect its affordable rental housing stock from being turned into vacation rentals.”
“We expect that Toronto will exhibit the same leadership as it prepares its short-term rental regulation,” she added.
Airbnb’s Alex Dagg said the company “welcomes the City of Vancouver’s move toward regulating home sharing” and is reviewing the report in detail.
“Our hosts are also looking forward to continuing their contributions to this important conversation,” Dagg said. “The vast majority of Airbnb hosts in Vancouver use home sharing to help pay the bills and afford to stay in their homes,” she added.
According to Airbnb, there are more than 5,000 hosts in Vancouver and more than 80 per cent them list their primary residences on the site.
Vancouver’s regulations are expected to be voted on by council next week and could be enforced by next April, according to the mayor’s office.