"A real risk": Calls for BC to take immediate action on short-term rentals

May 3 2023, 6:44 pm

A BC political party is asking the province to take “immediate action” on short-term rentals.

BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau tweeted her demands for immediate action on Tuesday, calling on the BC NDP government to “immediately regulate” the short-term rental industry “to reduce its effects on the housing crisis.

The BC Green Party also wants to improve safety for renters and hosts.

Furstenau says the call is a two-pronged approach, which would improve data gathering and sharing and bylaw enforcement. Her tweet comes just weeks after BC announced that it was looking to regulate the short-term rental market.

According to Furstenau, there is currently no system in BC to accurately identify the number or type of housing units in the short-term rental market.

“Even in municipalities with existing bylaws and business license programs, hundreds if not thousands of units listed on these sites are unlicensed,” she said.

Inside Airbnb

Furstenau cited some numbers from an independent watchdog called Inside Airbnb, which says there are under 6,000 listings in Vancouver alone, and 82% are entire homes or apartments. On top of those numbers, the watchdog suggests that 30% are unlicensed.

Some more data from Inside Airbnb suggests that the top hosts have an astounding number of listings.

Someone named Jordan is currently the top host on Airbnb, with a staggering 102 listings. The second next top host, Plan A, has 84 listings.

“A patchwork of policies”

The BC Green Party leader states that without platform accountability and provincial funding, “keeping people safe is impossible.”

Furstenau adds that BC currently has a “patchwork of policies” across the province and that local governments don’t have the resources to address the challenge independently.

While BC continues to pledge to build new homes in the province, Furstenau worries that there “is a real risk as new homes come online, many will become short-term rentals, rather than homes for people.

Do you echo the BC Green Party leader’s fears?

Amir AliAmir Ali

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