Property owners concerned about Victoria’s proposed short-term rental regulations

Property owners concerned about Victoria's proposed short-term rental regulations
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WATCH: Victoria’s proposed short-term rental regulations are concerning some property owners. Calvin To reports.

Opponents of Victoria’s proposed short-term rental regulations are arguing that they are too restrictive.

The regulations, which will be reviewed by Victoria city council in early 2018, will, among other things:

  • Eliminate short-term rentals in new builds
  • Require operators of short-term rentals to have a business license (the cost will depend on whether the property is used exclusively for short-term rentals, or the homeowner also lives there)
  • Increase enforcement of illegal short-term rentals in zones that are not “transient”
  • Grandfather buildings with units currently used for short term rentals

The proposal is concerning to many property owners like Marcia Freeman, who bought a one bedroom condo in downtown Victoria for income and retirement.

“It’s our investment,” Freeman said. “We shouldn’t be dictated to as to how we use it.”

Blake MacKenzie, part-owner of EMR Vacation Rentals, is worried the changes could hurt his business, similar to what happened when Vancouver brought in restrictions on short-term rentals.

“Vancouver rules have completely decimated our business there,” MacKenzie said. “So it was 50 per cent of our business and we’ve lost almost all of it.”

Proponents of the changes say they’re needed to help deal with the housing crisis.

Kristi Rivait, co-executive director of Ready to Rent B.C., says both sides should be considered when developing bylaws.

“There does need to be some regulation on short-term rentals for a city to keep its vibrancy and keep all the different people being able to live and work in the city,” Rivait said.

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