VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you’ve tried to wade through Vancouver’s tight rental market lately, you know how tough it can be to find a decent place to live, and a move by one short term vacation rental company isn’t helping matters.
Today is the deadline for an Airbnb signing bonus of $250 and one local real estate researcher says the company is being fairly brazen, considering the service it offers technically isn’t even allowed in the city.
“I find it strange that Airbnb is offering people incentives to break the city zoning bylaw that says you can’t rent a dwelling unit for less than 30 days unless you’re a licenced hotel or bed and breakfast,” says Karen Sawatzky, Master of Urban Studies student at Simon Fraser University who has analyzed the effect of the website on the local rental market.
She estimates that about 1000 units listed on Airbnb in Vancouver are being used exclusively for rentals to tourists or other short-term visitors.
“I don’t think that we need any more inducement for people to put their housing units on Airbnb. We have a rental shortage here and I don’t think it’s helpful at all in our context for Airbnb to be encouraging this.”
Airbnb’s $250 bonus is being offered to new hosts who sign up by August 31, live within 25 miles of downtown Vancouver and have a minimum booking value of $100 per night.
The city is currently studying how short-term rentals offered through Airbnb and other platforms are affecting the availability of rental housing for families and workers in Vancouver.