$1,000 fines part of Vancouver's new agreement with Airbnb

Apr 11 2018, 4:40 pm

The City of Vancouver and Airbnb have reached an agreement regarding the implementation of Vancouver’s new short-term rental regulations—the first of its kind in Canada, the city announced on Wednesday.

The new regulations “strike a fair balance for Vancouverites who rely on income from short-term rentals to help make ends meet, while also recognizing that our priority is to make sure Vancouverites have a secure place to call home,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The city defines a short-term rental as any home – or room in a home – that is rented for less than 30 days at a time.

As part of the agreement, Airbnb will require hosts in Vancouver to update their short-term rental listings to display a business licence, which will cost $49 a year. Beginning April 19, Airbnb will include a field for all hosts to list their short-term rental business licence.

New hosts will be required to include a business licence as part of their profile before they can post or rent their unit. Existing hosts have until August 31st to obtain a short-term rental business licence from the city and include it on their online listings.

Anyone operating a short-term rental without a licence faces a fine of up to $1,000 per day.

The new rules come after research suggested thousands of homes in Vancouver, which could otherwise be rented long-term, were being used for Airbnbs instead.

After August 31st, Airbnb will deactivate existing listings that do not include a business licence. Operators can reactivate their listing once they have obtained and entered in the licence number to the platform.

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“Airbnb is proud to have partnered with the City of Vancouver on this landmark agreement for Canada,” said Alex Dagg, Director of Public Policy for Airbnb. “This new system will make home sharing easier for Vancouverites and give the city the tools it needs to enforce their regulations.”

To help ensure compliance with the city’s new short-term rental regulations, Airbnb will provide a list of all Vancouver licences and associated addresses that short-term rent via their platform to the city on a quarterly basis.

The city’s enforcement team will then cross-reference it with their licensing records to identify any illegal operators. Existing and new Airbnb hosts will be required to grant permission for Airbnb to share information with Vancouver before they can list their rental.

“Vancouver is leading the way in finding balanced solutions to support short-term rentals,” said Kaye Krishna, General Manager of Development, Buildings and Licensing. “Our agreement with Airbnb is a key step towards promoting compliance with our new short-term rental program, and we are very pleased to be working with them to help ensure all Vancouver listings on Airbnb are licensed.”

Last November, City Council approved regulations to allow Vancouver residents to rent their principal residence on a short-term basis.

City Council is expected to enact these new bylaws next week. Residents can apply for their business licence starting April 19.

In preparation for applying online for their licence, existing and potential operators can review the requirements checklist and determine if they are eligible to rent their home by visiting the city’s website.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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