Vancouver taking action against over 800 suspected illegal short-term rentals

Mar 14 2019, 7:18 pm

The City of Vancouver announced today it has taken “enforcement action” against 820 suspected illegal short-term rental properties, such as unlicensed Airbnbs.

This comes after the first six months of the municipal government’s new regulations on short-term rental properties, which took effect on September 1 of last year.

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According to a release, the city says it has opened up more than 2,000 case files related to the issue. In one instance, a commercial operator with a combined 35 short-term rental listings at two properties was fined $20,000 for one property and has set a trial date for a second property.

Two other operators also pled guilty to violating the policies and each were fined $2,500 in provincial court.

Investigations begin with screen-capping listings on short-term rental platforms and cross-referencing it with data to identify and enforce illegal operations. Since the new regulations took effect, the municipal government has received 757 citizen complaints about suspected illegal short-term rentals.

“The early results of enforcement in the first six months of our new short-term rentals program are encouraging,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart in a statement. “This program is one of many designed to move more supply into the long-term rental market because housing in our city needs to be first and foremost for those who live and work in Vancouver.”

Short-term rental business licenses must be renewed every year, which cost $51.00. An additional $40.00 fee applies for late renewals.

As of this month, the city says there are 4,720 active short-term rental listings in Vancouver, and 2,628 business licenses for the 2019 cycle have been issued. Of those with licenses, a total of 520 licenses have been flagged for investigations and audits.

There have also been 309 warning letters, 142 legal orders, 274 violation tickets, 92 units identified for inspection, 89 listings referred to prosecution, and 17 business licenses suspended.

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

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