In an effort to combat a lack of rental housing in Vancouver, the City is proposing creating business licenses for short-term rentals such as AirBnB.
A report outlining the framework for such a license is coming to council on October 4, and states anyone who wants to rent out their principal homes – whether they own or rent – for less than 30 days must follow a set of guidelines to do so.
In order to get a short-term rental license, applicants have to prove that the home they live in is their main residence – empty homes or investment properties won’t be considered for short-term rentals – through a tax assessment or signed tenancy agreement that permits short-term sublets.
They must also prove that they live in the home they say is their principal residence with government ID or a utility bill.
“Vancouver is striking a balance in our approach to short-term rentals that ensures the best use of all our housing,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a release. “Long term rental supply will be protected and residents will be able to do short-term rentals in their principal residences.”
“Housing is first and foremost for homes, not operating a business. Both the City’s research and broad public input tell us we can have short-term rentals in Vancouver to help supplement income, while ensuring long term rentals are back in the rental market.”
The proposed plan would legalize approximately 50% of current short-term rental listings and also ban more than 1,000 homes listed for long-term tenancy.
As it stands, the city’s rental vacancy rates are at 0.6%, which is one of the lowest in Canada. The City said back in July that Vancouver has 5,000 short-term rentals, 75% of which are whole houses or apartments.
As part of the strategy to combat empty homes in Vancouver – of which there are 10,800 – and increase much-needed rental stock, the City also will implement an empty homes tax in 2017. Their aim is to get the rental vacancy rate up to 3% from 0.6%.