1,600 short-term Vancouver rentals flagged for review under regulations

Sep 5 2019, 10:18 pm

One year after new short-term rental regulations came into effect in Vancouver, the city said 73% of all active short-term rental operators have obtained a business licence.

And through its “proactive review and audit program,” officials said 1,600 short-term rentals have been identified for review. 

According to the city, a short-term rental is defined as any home – or room in a home – that is rented for less than 30 days at a time.

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To date, approximately one-quarter of all licences have been audited or flagged for audit to confirm compliance with City regulations. The audit program has also resulted in a tenfold increase in licence suspensions and voluntary licence cancellations since the spring.

Now, with one year under its belt, the city said it is continuing “to escalate legal action against commercial operators who are in contravention of regulations.”

In August, for example, the city said a commercial operator with a combined 35 short-term rental listings at two properties, who was previously fined $20,000 in provincial court, was fined two additional charges of $10,000 by the courts for unauthorized short-term rental activity at their second property.

Total fines issued against this operator amounted to $40,000.

Two other commercial operators were found guilty in Provincial Court for operating and marketing without a business licence. To date, 116 listings have been referred to the City Prosecutor’s Office.

“We know that short-term rentals in Vancouver are an ongoing concern for many residents,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “A year into our regulations we’ve seen promising results from our enforcement efforts and I’m looking forward to seeing how our approach continues to adapt to put the needs of Vancouver’s long-term renters first.”

Kathryn Holm, the city’s Chief Licence Inspector said that “since day one” the goals of the short-term regulations “have been to protect long term rental housing, ensure public safety and bring operators into compliance with our bylaws.

As of August 30, 2019, the City’s data showed 5,866 active online listings in Vancouver. While an operator may only have one short-term rental licence for the property where they reside, they may list the unit on multiple online platforms.

City staff will bring a review of the short-term rentals program, including new proposals for licensing and enforcement, to Council this fall.

In the meantime, all short-term rental operators in Vancouver must have a business licence and include their licence number in all online listings and advertising, or they may be subject to fines up to $1,000 per offence.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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