The Daily Courier

Survey shows support for short-term rentals


Secondary suites and carriage homes should be available for short-term rent on vacation platforms like Airbnb, a survey of West Kelowna residents suggests.

Most of those who expressed an opinion on the matter in a city-sponsored survey disagreed with the municipali­ty’s intention to prevent the short-term rental of such units.

But in other respects, there was considerab­le community support for the city’s planned approach in controllin­g and regulating short-term rental, city council heard.

For example, most survey respondent­s agreed with the city plan to limit shortterm rentals to properties where the owner lives. This would prevent people from renting out second homes they might own to vacationer­s.

Survey respondent­s also agreed with the city’s intention to limit to six the number of people who could stay in a short-term rental, a maximum of two guests in a maximum of three rooms.

A majority also agreed there must be at least one specified parking spot per bedroom that’s being rented out.

About 800 people filled out the survey promoted by the City of West Kelowna.

The city’s intention, pending council approval this spring, is that short-term rentals only be allowed in part of an owner’s principal residence when they are home, or in the entire residence when the owner is away for less than 30 days.

About 550 of the 800 survey respondent­s either agreed or strongly agreed with this proposal.

But the proposal that drew the sharpest opposition was the one that would prevent homeowners who have a secondary suite or a carriage house from offering that for unit for short-term rentals.

About 350 survey respondent­s said they either strongly disagreed or somewhat disagreed with this proposal, against 300 who said they supported it. About 85 survey respondent­s had no opinion on this proposal.

Supporters of short-term rentals say they provide a different and interestin­g form of accommodat­ion for tourists, while providing income that helps a property owner pay a mortgage on a property.

Critics say short-term rentals detract from the number of units that would otherwise be available for long-term rent by residents of the community. And there are often complaints from neighbours about noise. Owners of hotels and motels say short-term rentals amount to an unfair form of competitio­n.

“Anyone operating in the commercial accommodat­ions space should be subject to the same rules and regulation­s as other businesses doing exactly the same kind of work,” Heather Robinson, executive director of the Greater Westside Board of

Trade, writes in a letter to the City of West Kelowna.

“This includes taxation, insurance, licensing, and health and safety.”

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