Victoria city staff recommending licencing for short-term rental operators

Victoria city staff recommending licencing for short-term rental operators

A map shows current short-term rentals available through Airbnb in Victoria. Credit: Airbnb

City of Victoria staff are recommending tightening up the rules surrounding short-term rentals, such as those listed on Airbnb.

The proposed short-term regulatory framework described in a new report would allow people to offer short-term rentals of 30 days or fewer at their primary residence. However, they would have to get a business licence and comply with operating requirements set out by the city.

To get a licence, operators would have to file an application with the city and pay between $200 or $2,500 per year, depending on the type of rental.

Staff are recommending a two-tiered fee schedule. The lowest fees will apply to operators who occasionally list their entire unit, such as when they are on vacation, or rent a shared room or private room when they are present. The highest fees are for entire units that are available year-round and are not the principal residence of the operator.

Operators would be required to display their business licence number in any short-term rental listing.

Investment properties, commercial operations and housing including apartments, secondary and garden suites that are not “principally occupied by a long-term resident” would be banned.

According to the report, the rapid growth of short-term rentals has had positive and negative impacts. One of the positive impacts is income supplementation for residents while one of the negative impacts is the decrease in the availability of long-term rental housing.

The report said the basis of the proposed regulations is to allow individuals to rent out their homes in ways that do not “materially impact” the long-term housing market in Victoria, which has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country.

If the regulations are approved, the city will engage with stakeholders, including neighbourhood, tourism and housing associations to refine the proposed business regulations. Staff would report back with bylaws needed for the regulations. Following the adoption of the bylaws, staff would prepare an implementation plan for council approval in 2018.

The proposed short-term rental regulatory framework will be provided to the Committee of the Whole on Thursday night.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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