British Columbia

Short-term rental listings down 47 per cent in Vancouver

City claims its efforts to rein in the short-term rental market on websites like Airbnb are working.

City claims bylaw aimed at reining in the short-term rental market on websites like Airbnb are working

The City of Vancouver says 70 per cent of all existing short-term rental listings on websites like Airbnb have now been issued business licences in accordance with a new bylaw. (Airbnb)

The City of Vancouver claims 70 per cent of all short-term rentals listings in Vancouver have a business licence, which is now required by law.

The city also claims the new bylaw has reduced short-term rental listings on websites like Airbnb, Expedia, VRBO, Craigslist and Kijiji by 47 per cent, potentially freeing up badly needed long-term rental housing in the tight and expensive Vancouver market.

The number of short-term rental listings on those websites is now at 3,742, down from 6,600 in April, according to the city.

"The early results of the short-term rental program are very promising," said Kaye Krishna, General Manager, Development, Buildings and Licensing.

According to Chief Licence Inspector Kathryn Holm, 2,630 short-term business licences have been issued, and city staff are now "increasing enforcement against those still not in compliance with the bylaws," according to a news release.

Enforcement may include "fines of up to $1,000 per offence on each platform and escalating legal action."

Airbnb, the biggest player in the game, has deactivated 2,482 Vancouver listings that did not have a posted business licence number. It also claims more than 660 listings were removed by operators or converted to long-term rental units (30 days or more) in response to the new regulations.

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.

Critics have pointed out that some hosts have been flouting the bylaw by posting fake licence numbers, or by listing their Vancouver property as being outside the city. 

Read more from CBC British Columbia