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New Short-Term Rental Regulations in Effect May 1, 2024: What You Need to Know

by | Jun 26, 2024

short-term rental

New Short-Term Rental Regulations in Effect May 1, 2024: What You Need to Know

As of May 1, 2024, significant changes to short-term rental regulations have taken effect in British Columbia (B.C.). These new rules, aimed at addressing the housing crisis by returning short-term rental units to the long-term rental market, will impact platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the new regulations, their intended purpose, and the expected implications. We wanted to review these new rules in this blog as they are in effect and are something to keep an eye on. 

Key Aspects of the New Regulations

  1. Primary Residence Requirement: Under the new rules, only primary residences can be listed for short-term rentals. Additionally, either a secondary suite or an “accessory dwelling unit” (e.g., a laneway house) on the same property can be rented out. This restriction applies to 65 communities in B.C. with populations over 10,000 and certain smaller municipalities and resort towns that have opted in or been designated as such.
  2. Data Sharing and Compliance: Short-term rental platforms must share data with the province and promptly remove listings that do not comply with the new regulations. This measure is intended to ensure better enforcement and adherence to the rules.
  3. Increased Fines: The fines for hosts violating municipal by-laws will increase significantly. Regional districts can now set fines up to $50,000 for by-law offences, while local governments can impose daily fines of up to $3,000 per infraction, up from the previous maximum of $1,000.
  4. Provincial Registry and Enforcement: A provincial registry and enforcement unit will be established to monitor compliance, issue orders, and administer penalties. Local governments will share information with the province to help enforce the new rules.

Affected Communities and Exemptions

The regulations primarily target larger communities and those with populations exceeding 10,000. However, some tourist destinations, mountain resorts, and trust areas under the Islands Trust Act are exempt, as are certain types of accommodations that cannot be easily converted into permanent housing.

Local governments can apply for exemptions if their community has a rental vacancy rate of 3% or more for two consecutive years. For 2024, the deadline for exemption applications was February 29, with any changes to be implemented on November 1. Future exemption applications will have a deadline of March 31.

Reactions and Concerns

The new regulations have sparked mixed reactions. Proponents argue that they are necessary to address the housing shortage by making more long-term rental properties available. The B.C. NDP, which tabled the legislation in October 2023, views the regulations as a crucial step towards resolving the housing crisis.

Opponents, including some short-term rental hosts and industry representatives, have raised concerns about the potential economic impact and the practicality of the regulations. Nathan Rotman, policy lead for Canada at Airbnb, noted that similar regulations in other cities have not led to a decrease in housing prices but have instead resulted in higher hotel prices. He also criticized the provincial approach, highlighting the additional burden of requiring two licenses for operation.

Implications for Travelers and Hosts

Travelers with short-term rental bookings in B.C. for the summer are advised to review their reservations carefully, as some bookings might be at risk of cancellation. Operators and hosts are working to provide clarity and address questions from guests. However, the uncertainty is starting to ease as the new rules have been in effect for some time. 

The terms for cancelling bookings and returning deposits vary widely. As such, guests should be aware of the specific terms associated with their reservations, especially those with deposits or balances due in the coming months.

Looking Ahead

The impact of these new regulations on housing prices and the broader economy in B.C. will not be immediately clear. Airbnb and other platforms are closely monitoring the situation and directing inquiries to the government’s resources on the new rules. While the goal is to mitigate the regulations’ impact on travelers, the long-term effects on the housing market and the tourism industry will become evident over time.

As the regulations are implemented and enforced, both local authorities and the provincial government will likely evaluate their effectiveness and consider adjustments as needed. Stakeholders, including property owners, travelers, and local businesses, will be keenly watching how these changes unfold and their implications for the future of short-term rentals in B.C.

Reaching Out for More Information

For those seeking further details on these new short-term rental regulations and other mortgage-related news, the team at GLM Mortgage Group is here to help. We offer expert guidance and support to navigate the evolving housing landscape. Whether you’re a property owner, a potential buyer, or simply interested in staying informed, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at GLM Mortgage Group. Our knowledgeable professionals are ready to assist you with all your mortgage and housing queries.

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