Home Business & Economy Housing New short-term rental rules start May 1, 2024

New short-term rental rules start May 1, 2024

The goal is to free up more units for long-term rental housing.

airbnb, vrbo
Short term rental companies like airbnb and vrbo are upsetting the availability of regular housing in BC communities.

Thursday April 18, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

New short-term rental rules will take effect in British Columbia on May 1, 2024.

Premier David Eby and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon made the announcement in Langley today.

david eby, langley
Premier David Eby in Langley, April 18, 2024. [livestream]

Turning more short-term rentals into long-term homes is part of the Province’s Homes for People action plan. Announced in spring 2023, it sets out further actions to deliver the homes people need faster, while creating more vibrant communities throughout B.C.

New online platform:

The Province has now released additional information to guide hosts, platforms and visitors through the changes.

“The effect of short-term rental apps like Airbnb, VRBO and others has been the loss of thousands of long-term rental homes in the midst of a housing crisis, driving up the cost of housing for British Columbians,” said Premier David Eby.

“That’s why our government has created balanced new rules to crack down on speculators who are effectively operating mini hotels, while also ensuring homeowners can still rent out spaces in their principal residence. As we’ve already seen, these new rules are turning short-term rentals back into homes for people who live and work in our communities.”

Restoring more homes to the market:

The new rules are aimed at reining in the growing short-term rental market that is taking homes off the market. Analysis from short-term rental data analytics company AirDNA, from March 2024, shows that more than 19,000 entire homes in B.C. are being listed as short-term rentals for the majority of a calendar year. Data from a McGill University professor about short-term rentals in B.C. also shows in June 2023 that the top 10% of hosts earn nearly half of all revenue.

ravi kahlon, andrew mercier
Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced the new short-term rental rules and supports in Langley on April 18, 2024. [livestream]

“We are in a housing crisis that requires strong action to deliver more housing for the people who live and work in our communities,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “The changes passed last fall to tackle the growing short-term rental challenges are already bringing more long-term homes back onto the market. As the rules for hosts and platforms come into effect, we are taking another strong step to deliver more long-term homes for people in communities throughout B.C.”

Boon for the hotel sector:

As a result of the crackdown on short-term rentals there is new interest in the construction of new hotels. Today Premier Eby said that about 1,400 new hotel rooms are now under development because that sector now has confidence about market demand.

bc earthquake alliance, bcea

The new rules that will take effect May 1, 2024, are:

  • The Principal Residence Requirement, meaning short-term rentals can only be offered in the principal residence of a host, plus one additional unit, secondary suite or laneway home/garden suite on the property in communities where populations are greater than 10,000 people.
  • The Principal Residence Requirement will function as a province-wide floor for communities with populations of more than 10,000 people, but local governments will still be able to use existing bylaws and introduce additional bylaws that are more restrictive.
  • The Principal Residence Requirement will come into effect in more than 60 communities throughout B.C.
  • Strata hotels and motels that have been operating in a manner similar to a hotel or motel before Dec. 8, 2023, and that meet select criteria moving forward, will be exempt from the Principal Residence Requirement.
  • Non-conforming use of property will no longer apply to short-term rentals. Under previous legal non-conforming use protections, if an existing use of land or a building did not conform to the new bylaw, it would have generally continued with legal non-conforming use.
  • Short-term rental hosts will be required to display a valid business licence number on their listing, where a business licence is required by a local government.
  • Short-term rental platforms will be required to share data with the Province.
  • Local governments can request that a platform remove listings that do not display a valid business licence.

Exempt communities can participate starting November 1, 2024:

In addition to the short-term rental rules going into effect, 17 communities initially exempt from the legislation have requested to opt in to the Principal Residence Requirement. For those communities, the new short-term rental rules will take effect on Nov. 1, 2024. A full list is included in Backgrounder 2.

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A first-of-its-kind in Canada, the short-term rental data portal has been created to support local governments with monitoring and enforcement of short-term rental regulations and will allow local governments to have the platform companies remove listings that do not comply.

Provincial Short-Term Rental Compliance Enforcement Unit:

The Provincial Short-Term Rental Compliance Enforcement Unit, which will be phased in beginning May 1, will also be able to conduct investigations into alleged non-compliance, which may result in administrative monetary penalties and compliance orders.

Administrative penalties for hosts breaking the rules can range from $500 to $5,000 a day per infraction, and up to $10,000 per day for corporations, depending on the infraction. Visitors and guests will not face any fines. The unit will also facilitate data sharing and requests to platforms to remove listings.

New short-term rules for hosts and platforms are posted online.

Check with host directly:

Visitors with stays booked after May 1, 2024, at short-term rentals are encouraged to check with their host directly to confirm the host is complying with their local government regulations and with B.C.’s new short-term rental rules.

ist main, federal, langford
Island Social Trends reports news with socioeconomic insights and analysis. Independent news service on south Vancouver Island, BC. Read free online or get the biweekly PDF by email.

===== LINKS:

To learn more about the rules that take effect May 1, 2024, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/ShortTermRentals

To learn more about government’s Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing