Vancouver city council approves even stricter regulations for short-term rentals

Nov 7 2019, 12:14 pm

A year after the municipal government enacted its major policies regulating short-term rentals, Vancouver city council has approved changes that make the regulations more effective.

While it has significantly cut down on illegal short-term rental operations, the city is now moving to make false declarations during the business license application an offence under municipal bylaws, which may be referred to prosecution.

As well, short-term rental operators are subject to submit marketing and booking information to verify that bookings follow municipal regulations.

Third-party entities provided with the responsibility of marketing or managing more than one legal short-term rental unit must now obtain valid property management business license.

“While our short-term rentals program is still new, we’re seeing it make a positive impact on housing in our city,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart in a statement. “But until our vacancy rate improves, short-term rentals should only be in a person’s principal residence, and we will be reaching out to listing platforms and the province to ensure our regulations are followed.”

The city’s regulations on short-term rentals began in September 2018. Since then, nearly 4,100 short-term rental business licenses have been issued, and it is estimated nearly 73% of short-term rental operators in the city have obtained a business license, making it one of the highest compliance rates in the continent.

During the same period, over 2,100 long-term rental licenses have been issued, with 80% for individual condominium units. But it is estimated only 300 of these long-term rental units were previously short-term rental units.

As of the start of September 2019, the number of active short-term rental listings were down to 5,000 units compared to 6,600 units in April 2018.

So far, the city has initiated more than 3,600 enforcement casefiles against suspected illegal operators, resulting in $113,000 in violation tickets and six provincial court convictions imposing fines of $62,000.