Victoria looking to ask province to delay new short-term rental rules


Victoria council will consider a motion asking the provincial government to delay its short-term rental ban until after the summer tourist season.

The province’s new rules for short-term rentals will come into effect on May 1, with the legislation aiming to increase badly needed rental housing by only allowing short-term rentals (STRs) to operate in rentals where the owner lives.

Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto and Coun. Stephen Hammond are presenting a motion asking the province to consider delaying the implementation until Nov. 1.

“We’re also recognizing that there’s a lot of folks who either already had bookings this summer or rely on bookings for this summer,” said Alto.

Alto added that while construction for new hotels and motels is being completed, they want to give short-term rental hosts another season to host tourists.

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Alto was clear that this is just a request for a delay and not a complete overhaul.

“The delay is just for implementation, not for the legislation itself in the sense of changing itself but to delay its application so that the folks who are holding STRs that are intended to be for visitor industry could have one last final high season,” said Alto.

B.C. Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon told CHEK News that hosts have already had enough time to get ready for the law.

“We purposely gave time for those that had investment properties to either sell or rent them in the long-term market, but we are really struggling to get the housing that we need for people in our communities,” added Kahlon.

Kahlon added that the province says it’s going ahead with implementing the new STRs rules on May 1.

With the possible lack of rentals, sky-rocketing hotel prices are being noticed by those wanting to travel to B.C. during the high summer season.

The housing minister says that while hotel stocks are being increased, travellers will still have other options.

“Short-term rentals still being available in our communities will ensure that people will have access to housing in our communities and will attract the workforce that we need to support our tourism sector and, at the same time, welcome tourists,” said Kahlon.

The Greater Victoria Hotel Association says it’s up to governments to determine the future of STRs.

Chairperson Bill Lewis says bigger factors are at play than just the new legislation.

“High-interest rates, high inflation, these are all affecting consumer spending patterns regardless of what’s decided on the short-term vacation rental front,” said Lewis.

The motion is being presented to Victoria’s committee of the whole on March 14.

-With files from CHEK’s Oli Herrera

Tchadas Leo

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