Short-term vacation operators in Victoria say pricey new license fees will be passed on to renters


WATCH: Victoria city council has passed a bylaw regulating short-term rentals and that includes hefty business license fees. April Lawrence reports.

On Thursday night, Victoria council approved a new bylaw that will change how short-term vacation rentals are run. Among the most contentious new rules is a hefty business license fee for people who rent out entire units as a business.

“With these bylaws going in place we’re at risk now of losing this business and probably losing substantial money if the market values change on these properties,” said speaker Gary Simms who operates a short-term rental.

For those who rent out rooms in their primary residence the new fees are $150 dollars a year but for others who operate secondary units, it will be $1500. They argue it’s unfair because they’ll now be paying higher license fees than hotels.

“Many property owners will be able to absorb that we’ll just charge slightly higher rates, and tourists coming to town can thank council for the higher rates they’ll have to pay,” said short-term rental owner David Langlois.

Council’s goal is to try to make it more enticing for owners to put their units in the long-term rental market ? an attempt to ease the affordable housing crisis.

“I’m kind of hoping that over time some people will rethink this, they will maybe decide now that they’re paying all the fees and taxes it’s not worth it,” said councillor Geoff Young.

But vacation rental owners are doubtful that’s going to happen.

“These units are not affordable in the sense they’re not $700, $800 $1000 a month, they’re $1800, $1900, $2500 a month so it won’t do anything to achieve that goal,” said Langlois.

The new bylaw comes into effect in early April.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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