British Columbia

City of Vancouver cracks down on 820 short-term rentals

More than 2,000 case files have been opened since new short-term regulations were introduced; 'egregious' property owners continue to operate despite legal action taken against them, inspector says.

'Egregious' property owners continue to operate despite legal action taken against them, inspector says

Hundreds of suspected unauthorized short-term rentals are facing enforcement action from the City of Vancouver. ( Canadian Press)

The City of Vancouver is clamping down on more than 800 suspected illegal short-term rental properties after it introduced new regulations targeting listings on websites like Airbnb.

In the six months since the regulations took effect, the city has taken legal action against 142 properties and flagged hundreds more for investigations and audits. More than 200 violation tickets have been issued.

According to a statement from the city, one property owner was fined $20,000 for listing 35 units across two buildings.

Two other operators have pleaded guilty to violations of the rental bylaws and were subsequently fined $2,500 in provincial court.

"The early results of enforcement in the first six months of our new short-term rentals program are encouraging," said Mayor Kennedy Stewart in an official statement.

"This program is one of many designed to move more supply into the long-term rental market, because housing in our city needs to be first and foremost for those who live and work in Vancouver."

'Egregious' property owners

Kathryn Holm, Vancouver's chief licence inspector, said an additional $32,000 has been collected from property owners through paid violation tickets. Tickets generally carry a fine of $1,000.

She said several operators are suspected of running 10 or more properties illegally.

"There are a number of consistently egregious operators that continue to persist to operate despite our legal efforts, and we are continuing to focus on those operators and escalate our enforcement action," said Holm.

"We are not stopping. We are actively advancing these files, and our intention is to bring short term rental operators in this city into compliance," said Holm.

Kathryn Holm, Vancouver's Chief Licence Inspector, says there are several 'egregious' offenders that city is pursuing. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

More than 2,000 case files have been opened since the city introduced rules requiring homeowners who list their properties on sites like Airbnb to obtain a business licence.

The regulations aim to open up more rental spaces as Vancouverites continue to grapple with a rental vacancy rate below one per cent.

The city introduced its new short-term rental policy April 19, but gave hosts until Aug. 31 to get a licence and include it in their listing.

Short-term rental operators are required to renew their business licence annually. The city says many properties are subject to more than one type of enforcement activity. (City of Vancouver)