Vancouver approves regulations around short-term rentals including Airbnb

Vancouver has voted to implement regulations around short-term rentals in the face of a housing crunch and a near-zero rental vacancy rate.

Councillors approved the new regulations on Tuesday, finally legalizing a significant chunk of the hospitality industry operating on home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb that have grown rapidly in popularity while occupying a legally grey area.

“This is a straightforward regulatory approach” that is in the “middle of the spectrum between strict regulation or prohibition and doing nothing on the other end,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The city is facing pressure on its housing stock and needs to respond to the consequences arising from the sharing economy, he said, calling the new rules “a good next step.”

“It’s a positive step to get to some regulations where there is none right now,” he said.

In Vancouver, Airbnb makes up 30 per cent of tourist accommodations.

Under the new rules, which would take effect April 1, 2018, homeowners or renters can rent out part or all of their principal homes after getting a $49 annual license and paying a one-time $54 activation fee.

Short-term rentals are banned for secondary homes, secondary suites and laneway homes — an area of concern for critics of the regulations who say there are hosts who are not interested in or able to put their homes up for long-term rental market.

Coun. Tim Stevenson sought to ease concerns with an amendment stipulating that if the city’s rental vacancy rate hits four per cent, staff should look into allowing short-term rentals in secondary suites. The amendment was approved.

The regulations also require every Vancouver listing to include the business license — a move that will make it easier for city staff to track compliance.

A transaction fee of up to three per cent will be levied by AirBnb and …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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