Victoria short-term rental owner files petition against B.C., city

Victoria short-term rental owner files petition against B.C., city

The co-owner of a short-term rental company in Victoria has teamed up with the Property Rights Association of BC to file a petition in B.C. Supreme Court against the provincial government and the City of Victoria, ahead of the province’s ban on many types of short-term rental spaces.

The suit says the government should not be allowed to take away rights of owners, and shouldn’t require the City of Victoria to cancel business licenses related to short-term rentals.

“We believe that it’s an overreach of government authority and we’d like to see it paused until it can be heard before the courts on both sides,” said Orion Rodgers, president of Property Rights BC.

Angela Mason bought a 500-square-foot loft in the Janion building in Victoria in 2023 to use as a legal short-term rental, as a way to invest in her family’s future and retirement.

“I took this as an opportunity to get myself into the market,” she said Saturday.

“You know, I can’t afford to purchase my own family home, but I could afford to get into the market with something like this.”

But come May 1, the unit will no longer fall under the province’s short-term rental guidelines. Only units on an owner’s primary residence will make the cut, with the aim of freeing up more housing on the market.

“The basement suites, the carriage houses – you know, the ones that they have announced should be AirBnB’s or vacation rentals – those are the ones that are the affordable housing,” said Mason.

SEE ALSO: Victoria’s short-term rental delay motion defeated

She says the new rules are causing problems for many who purchased micro-lofts in the area.

Mason co-owns Amala Vacation Rental Solutions Ltd., where client numbers have dropped from 90 in the downtown core to fewer than 30, and her staff numbers shrunk from 36 to about eight.

Government response

In a statement Saturday, the B.C. Ministry of Housing said it’s taking action to reign in short-term rentals and turn more units back into homes for people.

It adds that it will not comment further on the matter as it’s now before the courts.

Meanwhile, the City of Victoria says the petition is being reviewed by its lawyers and will respond in accordance with the rules of the court.

If the rules don’t change, Mason says she’ll face an uphill battle.

“I’m going to be left with a hefty mortgage that I’m going to have to figure out how to carry, without being able to do that,” she said.

Mason hopes to hear a response from the courts in a couple of weeks.

RELATED: District of Tofino votes to restrict short-term rentals starting Nov. 1

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