British Columbia

New data shows more than 5,000 short-term rentals Vancouver

New numbers released by the City of Vancouver show up to 5,000 active short-term rentals in the city with 85 per cent of those on Airbnb while two thirds are for entire houses, condos or apartments.

City councillor says plan is to have enforceable rules for Airbnb-type rentals by December

New numbers released by the City of Vancouver show up to 5,000 active short-term rentals in the city with 85 per cent of those on Airbnb. The data also shows two-thirds of the listings are for entire houses, condos or apartments.

"There's no doubt in my mind that it's having an impact on our rental market," said Councillor Geoff Meggs.

"Perhaps both through diversion of long-term rental stock to the short term market but also it's likely that condominium units that otherwise might be rented are being used for Airbnb which is a separate level of concern."

The city says Vancouver's rental vacancy rate is 0.6 per cent and Meggs along with his party, Vision Vancouver have promised to figure out what impact short-term rentals are having on that.

Regulation coming

"What's going to be required is to strike the balance in this new area because no one has ever said there would be prohibition but we're hearing now about consumer protection and public safety aspects of it," said Meggs on Sunday.

Data released publicly by Airbnb shows that the number of listings in Vancouver has doubled every year since 2013.

Of the 5,000 rentals:

  • 85 per cent are rented through Airbnb.
  • 75 per cent of short-term rentals are entire homes, condos or apartments.
  • 31 per cent of rentals are downtown.
  • 15 per cent are in Mount Pleasant/Renfrew.
  • 14 per cent are in Kitsilano/Point Grey.
  • 14 per cent are in East Hastings.

"We hear about people making a little bit of extra income here and there and so on," said Meggs.

"They may feel that that's a good thing and it certainly is good for them but it's at the expense, we think, of the affordability of our rental stock, the availability of it and the kind of rents that are being paid."

The consulting firm will also analyze data from ten other platforms that provide short-term rentals in the city including Homeaway, Family (VRBO and OwnersDirect) and Flipkey, which is owned by TripAdvisor.

City wants feedback

Meggs says the city still needs to figure out how many rentals are being listed by commercial enterprises as there has been disagreement between academics and Airbnb.

The city is also looking at how other cities with low vacancy rates and high tourist volumes regulate short-term rentals.

On Wednesday an on-line survey will launch on the city's website asking for feedback on Airbnb-style rentals from residents.

Those comments will be provided to council, which hopes to devise recommendations by September.

Meggs says he hopes by December there will be enforceable rules in place which will protect Vancouver's rental stock, deal with consumer protection and public safety issues but, "not paid for at the expense taxpayers but by people who are trying to deliver this new service, through their business licence fees."

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