‘A buick to a fly’: Realtor says new short term rental rules aren’t having desired impact

'A buick to a fly': Realtor says new short term rental rules aren't having desired impact

As the new short-term rental legislation takes effect across B.C., the next battle sets up in court.

“The government took a Buick to a fly instead of a flyswatter,” said realtor David Langlois, managing broker of MacDonald Realty Vancouver Island.

Langlois and 300 other property owners say the government is going too far, especially when it comes to units that were purposely built as short-term rentals. They’ve requested a judicial review of B.C.’s new legislation from B.C.’s Supreme Court.

The request was filed April 12, meaning the government needs to respond this week. Property owners are hoping for a court date in the next month or two.

“It makes no sense!” says Langlois.

The new regulations announced last October limit short-term rentals to an individual’s primary residence only. The province hopes what will happen, is that housing will no longer be treated as an investment.

“At the end of the day, if you’re an investor and you’re buying three, four, five homes and using short-term rentals to make wealth, the message here is that that is no longer allowed,” Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing said in October 2023 during the announcement of the new rules.

READ MORE: B.C.’s new short-term rental regulation comes into effect

Some Island communities applaud the move.

“We have seen folks that have been displaced because of short-term rental use, and so the short-term rental policy is just tightening that up a little bit,” said Bowen Island mayor Andrew Leonard.

But Langlois says the end result of what the government was hoping for, isn’t happening.

“The new rules not only take away tourism opportunities, but they don’t add rental stock in a meaningful way,” he said.

Prior to the province reining things in, Langlois says there were roughly 650 licensed short-term rentals in Victoria. The City of Victoria tells CHEK News there are now 384. Langlois says not all the 300 units are being converted into long-term homes.

“Some of it is being converted into long-term rental, you’re talking 100-200 units. Some have been sold, maybe three dozen. There are some for sale, and there are others that will just sit empty,” he said.

Langlois says many snowbirds who come to Victoria for the winter and previously rented their condos out short term will keep their properties vacant for when they need them, taking the loss in revenue and paying the speculators tax.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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