Kelowna cracking down on short-term rentals
KELOWNA Most carriage homes, secondary suites and investment properties could not be offered as short-term rentals under proposed restrictions endorsed by Kelowna city council.
Council agreed unanimously Monday to support a staff plan that could significantly reduce the number of short-term rentals offered through online services like Airbnb and VRBO.
Under the proposal, people could only rent out rooms in their primary residence, or the entire property if they are away themselves. Those offering short-term rentals would also need to get a city business licence, as do the owners of hotels and motels.
“If they’re going to run a business, they need to operate on the same level as those who have invested a lot of money into businesses in our community,” Coun. Gail Given said.
“It’s not just an easy way to earn a couple bucks and get rid of longterm tenants. You’re going to have a cost involved as well,” Given said.
Currently, short-term rentals are only allowed in areas of Kelowna with a C-7 or C-9 zoning, a relatively small number of properties. But there are nevertheless more than 1,000 properties in other areas offered for short-term rentals through online booking services.
“I sort of view the vacation rental (market) as the wild, wild west … It’s been sort of unregulated for too long,” said Coun. Luke Stack.
City officials expect restricting vacation rentals to a person’s principal residence or rooms in their own house will prevent long-term rental properties from being converted by owners into more lucrative short-term rentals during the summer.
I sort of view the vacation rental (market) as the wild, wild west … It’s been sort of unregulated for too long.
“What we’re trying to stop is tenants being evicted for short-term rentals,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “We know (short-term rentals) are needed and wanted in our community for those visiting, but we also know it’s having some real negative consequences for people trying to find long-term housing in our community.”
Coun. Brad Sieben said it was obvious many homeowners and visitors like short-term rentals, the former as a way to earn extra income and the latter as an alternative to hotels and motels. “The public wants to have this as an option, but we need to regulate it,” Sieben said.
Now that council has endorsed the idea of limiting most shortterm rentals to a person’s principal residence, staff will develop specific regulations and invite community feedback over the next few months.
“We’re hoping for late summer, early fall to conduct that stakeholder consultation, and then come back to council once we’ve had a chance to review and refine the regulations as needed,” planner Laura Bentley told council.