‘I really felt sick’: Realtor criticizes Tofino’s vote to restrict short-term rentals

'I really felt sick': Realtor criticizes Tofino's vote to restrict short-term rentals
Mackenzie Beach in Tofino is pictured.

A Tofino realtor is sharing her concerns with the district’s decision to opt into B.C.’s new short-term rentals act, despite not being required to.

During a March 11 council meeting, the District of Tofino voted to join the province’s new short-term rentals (STRs) act in the municipality. The legislation was introduced last year which regulates and restricts STRs in B.C.

The new act only affects communities with a population of more than 10,000. Communities under that threshold, like Tofino, can opt in if they choose to.

“I really felt sick in the bottom of my stomach and I still felt that way. I’ve felt sick ever since I saw them raise their hands,” said Tia Traviss, realtor.

The new rules wouldn’t go into effect until Nov 1., but Traviss, who has been a realtor for 12 years, says it was a decision that went against the majority of the town’s wants.

“We are all very much in agreement that we all want attainable housing, we all want affordable rentals. We all agree on that but the majority of our community did not agree that this legislation would have that effect,” said Traviss.

Two buildings of note that would be affected are the Fred Tibbs and Eik Landing, which would lose their non-conforming status, which Traviss says would affect around 40 units.

“I am in communication with the majority of owners in the buildings…most people’s plan is to eat the cost and leave them empty,” said Traviss.

Tofino already has short term rental bylaws in place since 2016 after it began a crackdown on illegal rentals. Some of the laws include only allowing STRs to operate when a permanent resident occupies the dwelling where the STR is placed, limiting the number of guests to six, and a maximum of three bedrooms.

A report brought forward by the district’s chief administrative officer brought forward three options, but ultimately recommended deferring the decision to opt-in until staff can assess zoning options.

“Moving this decision into this process, will provide staff with time to analyze, examine and assess the option in conjunction with other aspects of zoning within an established process that District staff and Councils have used successfully in the past,” read the report.

“Opting in just to opt in or doing something just to do something or shifting liability to the government, I don’t think is a good reason,” said Travis.

The district’s mayor told CHEK News that only about 15 per cent of all units in Tofino are STRs and the new laws would only affect about two per cent of those.

“Like much of the province, our community is facing significant housing challenges. Affordable long-term housing continues to be a top priority for this Council,” Mayor Dan Law said last October.

The new STR act goes into effect on May 1, and Tofino’s motion has been sent off to the Minister of Housing for approval.

-With files from Ethan Morneau and Dean Stoltz

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!