Airbnb rentals drop in Victoria with new bylaws
The city’s bylaw department has shifted from educating property owners about the new laws, to dishing out tough penalties for those who don’t comply. (Airbnb.com)
Glenn MacDonald, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, June 26, 2019 12:16PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 26, 2019 3:09PM PDT
Since enforcing new short-term rental regulations, Victoria has seen a decrease in the number of available VRBO and Airbnb units in the city.
Last spring Victoria city council voted in favour of regulating and taxing people who rent their homes on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.
As of May, Victoria had 1,268 active short-term listings, compared to 1,440 in December when the new regulations were put in place.
Many people have obtained business licences so they can operate legally, while others have completely removed their listings.
The city’s bylaw department has shifted from educating property owners about the new laws, to dishing out tough penalties for those who don’t comply.
"A person could potentially get a $700 fine a day," the city's bylaw leader Barrie Cockle told CTV News. "It will get tougher. Our goal is to conduct a robust enforcement of those that make the decision not to license."
But it’s not just laws and taxes. Victoria has introduced other initiatives to improve access to long-term rental housing and increase affordability, including creating a renters’ advisory committee to provide advice to council on rental housing and tenant-related matters and committing $1.8 million to build 138 new affordable rental homes.
Victoria has seen a slight improvement in the rental vacancy rate from 0.8 per cent in 2017 to 1.1 per cent in 2018, as a result of the construction of new rental buildings, with 1,269 new rental units built between 2014 and 2018, according to the city.