The city of Vancouver has recently been in the media regarding cracking down on short-term rentals (i.e. residential rentals for periods under 30 days), such as those found on the popular website Airbnb. Counter-ads have been spotted in places such as Canadaline skytrain stations, suggesting that Airbnb helps Vancouverites to make ends meet while providing service to those needing a place to stay. The city of Vancouver cites an already tight rental and general housing market as major catalysts for their newfound action; they also state that unlicenced short-term rental units are taking business away from licenced establishments like traditional bed and breakfasts. We at Dunowen Properties would like to shine some light on this issue, bringing facts and our professional opinion to the table.
Current vs. Proposed Laws
Based on the city of Vancouver’s official website (vancouver.ca), the current rules are that zoning regulations don’t allow short-term rentals by unlicenced home-owners at all, period. That means that if you are a private home-owner who does not own a business licence to rent out your home, renting out your Vancouver home for less than 30 days is illegal. Tourists and business travellers renting your space would therefore be a part of this illegal activity, whether or not they are aware of the rules in place. These short-term listings are unregulated, and therefore there are no industry standards (such as for safety, hygiene, etc.) that can or should be taken for granted by those who decide to stay there.
Illegal short-term rentals can currently be subject to fines up to $10,000. However, the city of Vancouver has, for the most part, not been strict in enforcing these existing by-laws, and short-term rentals like Airbnb have flourished.
All of that is about to change.
The city has firmly stated on their website that “People operating rentals without a business licence will face fines and legal action,” suggesting that their crackdown on illegal short-term rentals is going to be significant and wide-spread. Their plan is said to be ready in early 2017, with the city working out details such as the resources needed for enforcement before presenting the finalized version to council.
Having done research on the impact that these units have had on various stake-holders, the city has proposed giving private owners and long-term tenants the opportunity to rent their principle residence out on a nightly basis, but only if they have a business licence, assuming that this does not violate other by-laws or Strata restrictions. They would be required to prove that the home is their principle residence (so secondary and empty properties will still not allowed to be rented out), and they would then have to post their licence number in all online advertisements. In other words, you’d have to actually live in the home you are renting out, and then have your home officially become a short-term rental business.
Protect Yourself by Trusting Licenced Professionals
Dunowen Properties is a licenced, legitimate business that is legal, professional, and tailored to the needs of our clientele. We believe that vacant properties should be put to work, providing mutual benefit for both owners and those who need a clean, safe, and convenient place to stay. We furnish residential properties with what renters need, and also with what makes renters feel at ease and at home, because we believe that when you are travelling, the last thing you should be worried about is where you will be sleeping.
We also firmly believe that if an activity is illegal, you should not take part in that activity. If you are a home-owner that would like to rent out your Vancouver property, even if you do not live there, we suggest that you not take any chances with the law; instead, you would be better off to rent it out properly through a licenced business like Dunowen Properties. We will work to transform your property into an elegantly furnished space that will bring you income while abiding by legal standards.
For more information, including on how to rent your property with us, contact us by email at [email protected], or call us toll free at +1-855-736-1900, or locally at 604-739-1900.