After mounting pressure from a wide variety of housing advocates, the Fairbnb coalition, and concerned citizens like YOU, Vancouver city council has approved new regulations for short-term rentals, allowing them in principal residences of both owners and renters.
The new regulations protect and free up more long-term rental stock through strengthened enforcement and a legal licensing system, with clear rules and penalties for what is and isn't allowed.
Congratulations to Vancouver city council for passing the new regulations, which were brought forward by city staff last June to address more than 6,000 illegal short-term rentals currently operating in Vancouver.
Why we support the regulations
Generation Squeeze believes the short-term vacation rental industry can be a source of harmful demand when it removes units from the long-term rental supply, and contributes to a commodification of the housing market.
Conversely, in a community with so many people struggling to cope with escalating costs, we consider the short-term vacation rental industry to be a helpful source of income for those trying to make ends meet by sharing or renting out their primary residence.
A strong showing of civic engagement
Voices of support were heard loud and clear by council members as dozens of housing advocate groups lobbied for short-term rental regulations, including the Fairbnb coalition, which Gen Squeeze is a member of.
The decision was preceded by two days of public hearings, where more than 100 speakers presented different views. Gen Squeeze also weighed in by writing a detailed letter of support, which was then amplified by our network through special social media tools.
The fine print
The regulations were informed by an extensive public consultation process conducted over a year-long period, as well as a technical review of various approaches used in municipalities around the globe. The city estimates at least 1,000 of the currently illegal rentals are not principal residences, and would not be supported as short-term rentals under the new regulations.
Residents who wish to rent their principal residence will need to apply for a business licence with the city to validate their legal short-term rental. Those who rent short-term without a licence will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 per infraction.
- The new regulations will come into effect April 2018
- Residents will be able to apply online for and receive a short-term rental licence that costs $49 with a one-time administrative fee of $54
- Rentals in principal residences — for both owners and renters — will be able to be legally rented for periods of less than 30 days at a time
- A principal residence is where someone lives most of the year, pays their bills, cooks their meals and receives government mail
- Secondary suites, laneway homes and investment properties can only be rented short-term by a principal resident, which may include a long-term renter
For more information visit: http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/council-approves-new-short-term-rental-regulations.aspx
Room for improvement
As a member of the Fairbnb coalition, we agree that “platform accountability” mechanisms will be important to achieving desired levels of compliance. If platforms like Airbnb were compelled, as they are in some jurisdictions, to only list legal, permitted units, the process of enforcement would become more effective.
However, we acknowledge the legal uncertainty cited by staff on this matter. Recognizing the current uncertainty, we encourage council to commit to exploring mechanisms to strengthen platform accountability in the future.
Are in order for Gen Squeeze social media rockstars who sent messages of support to Vancouver council members on Twitter through our special engagement tool, and for Mayor Gregor Robertson for echoing our Homes First housing crisis messaging!
"Housing is first and foremost for homes, and I'm very pleased to see this approach to short-term rentals move forward." - Mayor Gregor Robertson.
See more wins
We’ve been on a roll lately. Learn about our recent campaign successes:
Let’s do more
We want to restore housing affordability for renters and owners — forever.
You can help by becoming a Gen Squeeze Member: