Vancouver issues over 900 licences to homeowners and tenants running Airbnb short-term rentals

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      Some 679 Vancouver homeowners and 244 tenants have been granted business licences to run short-term rentals.

      The City of Vancouver started issuing licences on April 1 this year, when regulations governing rentals for less than 30 days came into effect.

      A city news release provides the following breakdown for types of homes where these short-term rentals are operated: 308 apartments, 24 laneway houses, 72 duplex/triplex/fourplex, 416 detached houses, 64 suites in a house, and 40 townhouses.

      Short-term rentals are allowed only in the principal homes of operators.

      The news release Thursday (May 31) reminds property owners and tenants running short-term rentals that they have until August 31, 2018 to get a licence.

      “Anyone who advertises a short-term rental without a business licence after August 31 will be subject to fines starting at $1,000, prosecution, or other enforcement actions,” the city advised.

      Short-term rentals that are typically advertised through digital platforms like Airbnb were previously illegal in Vancouver.

      On November 14, 2017, city council voted to legalize and regulate these rentals.

      Primary residences are the only places where short-term rentals are allowed.

      The city also announced in the news release that it is “actively investigating over 1,500 listings which appear to be illegal”.

      “These include commercial operations and illegal/unsafe units that will not qualify under the new licensing program, in order to protect the safety and availability of Vancouver’s long-term rental stock,” according to the city.

      The city also noted that following investigation and enforcement on these listings, almost 400 have been either converted to long-term rentals or taken off the listings.

      “Prosecution has been initiated against commercial operators representing 89 listings, with the potential to collect fines of up to $890,000,” the city also revealed.

      In addition, more than 400 listings were “targeted for enforcement, with multiple actions taken including warning letters, safety violation inspections, prosecutions and fines”.

      “Over 100 listings with duplicate or incorrect business licences are under audit and subject to additional enforcement,” the city also noted.

      “The new short-term rental regulations are designed to balance long-term rental housing protection by prohibiting short-term rentals in investment properties and support for owners and tenants who want to offset high housing costs with supplemental income,” Kaye Krishna, general manager of development, buildings and licensing, said in the media release.