Victoria asks city staff for AirBnB policy, pitches vacation rental tax
A map shows vacation rentals available on the popular home-sharing website AirBnB. (www.airbnb.com)
The City of Victoria is one step closer to creating vacation rental regulations that would extend to home-sharing websites like AirBnB.
City council has asked staff to develop options for vacation rental policy guidelines by September.
With a vacancy rate of less than one per cent, the city is currently in a rental crisis and council saycts one way to ensure there’s enough housing for everyone is to limit and regulate private vacation rentals on sites like AirBnB and VRBO.
But that wouldn’t apply to every single short-term rental in the city, according to Coun. Jeremy Loveday.
“One little room in your house that would otherwise be vacant that you want to use for AirBnB, we’re not trying to stop that, because that’s not having an impact on our vacancy rates,” said Loveday. “We’re saying that if there are condos or rental units that would be housing but are now being used as short-term rentals, that’s what we’re trying to prohibit.”
He added very few vacation rental properties are operating within the current rules.
The city is also urging the province to tax vacation rentals the same way hotels are taxed.
Loveday says the income from such a tax would allow the city and province to properly promote themselves.