Short-term rental businesses face last day in operation ahead of B.C.’s ban

Short-term rental businesses face last day in operation ahead of B.C.'s ban

With the short-term rental ban coming into effect on May 1, a local business has had to make the choice to close its doors.

Nancy Paine started SpaceHost in 2016 to manage short-term rentals for the owners of the units, but now, its closure means more than a dozen people will be laid off.

“It’s really the last day of effective business where we have people checking out of our suites. Tomorrow will be truly the last day for us because all of my clients are shuttering their businesses,” Paine said.

B.C.’s new short-term rental ban is in effect on May 1 in 60 communities, including Victoria. It will limit rentals to a homeowner’s principal residence plus one secondary suite or accessory dwelling.

Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s housing minister, said when the government introduced its legislation in October, it was more than enough time for owners to make changes.

“We need to prioritize housing for people in our communities,” Kahlon said. “That’s what we’ve been clear about since we introduced legislation, and we expect that to kick in tomorrow.”

Across the street, Air Lobby’s business is down drastically, according to co-owner Angela Mason. The business acted as a virtual front desk for many Airbnb’s downtown.

“May 1, that means the closing of calendars. That means the shutdown of all the properties that we’ve been able to grow and love over the past four years. That means a business winding down.  That means us saying goodbye to staff that have been here,” Mason said.

Owners who continue to operate in contravention of the ban face the potential of stiff fines. The maximum fines for offences is $50,000 and daily infractions will cost $3,000.

Municipalities are expected to report offending units to the province.

Marianne Alto, mayor of Victoria said the rationale is to add desperately needed housing to communities such as hers.

“The thrust of this is to create more units of permanent housing. Whether that happens remains to be seen,” Alto said. “There are quite a few people who’ve said anecdotally said that they’ve either sold or decided to become landlords, and rent. If that’s the case, that’s great.”

READ MORE: 10 Island communities opt-in to B.C.’s looming short-term rental ban

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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