First challenge to B.C.’s new short term rental restrictions begins in Victoria

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The first challenge to B.C.’s new Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act (STRAA) began at the Victoria courthouse on Monday.

The judicial review will determine whether the province was fair and lawful in passing the STRAA.

Some 300 petitioners, many of them Airbnb owners, are seeking compensation and an injunction to block the limits of B.C.’s STRAA. They claim the new short-term rental rules are illegal because they take rights away from property owners.

“It’s a blunt tool to squash a very small mosquito,” said Orion Rodgers with the Property Rights Association of BC outside Victoria’s Supreme Court.

“We recognize there were businesses operating legally, so why were provisions not given to those folks?”

Watch the report below:

On the other side of the courtroom, Crown prosecutors called the petition being heard today an “abuse of process” and “an attack on the legislation itself.”

At the start of proceedings, prosecutors tried to toss out the petition before it was heard.

They were unsuccessful. Instead, the judge ruled that submissions will proceed for the next week, with prosecutors able to argue later why they think this petition should be struck down.

Petitioners say if the legislation is enforced, they deserve c­ompensation.

“In effect, (it) will require an owner of private land to subsidize long-term rental or give up all revenue,” reads the petition.

B.C.’s STRAA bars most short-term rental units not part of a principal residence. It limits short-term rentals to a host’s principal residence or a ­basement suite or laneway home on their property.

Submissions are expected to wrap on Friday.

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

Kori Sidaway

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