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Loosening rental rules present double standard: Vancouver councillor

Last Updated Jun 6, 2019 at 12:29 pm PDT

FILE -Vancouver city hall. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The city has given permission to developer Onni to operate 20 short-term rental units downtown

Councillor Melissa De Genova argues residents should have the same opportunity

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If developers can rent out rooms in their buildings — one Vancouver city councillor says average people should have the same opportunity.

The city recently gave developer Onni permission to operate 20 short-term rental units in one of its buildings downtown. Currently, homeowners who want to list secondary suites on short-term rental sites like Airbnb face the possibility of fines.

Councillor Melissa De Genova argues the city should not have one rule for developers and another for everyone else.

“The way I see it is, we’re saying it’s okay for the development community to do one thing, and we’re saying that it’s not okay for residents to do that,” she says.

De Genova is asking staff to look at options for opening up the rules.

“I think to give developers the option instead of a DCL waiver to create affordable housing units to give them a bank of essentially short term rental units or a hotel instead, that might be helpful to the tourist community,” she adds.

A recent motion from Councillor Pete Fry asks for developers to be able to lease hotel space for fixed terms to encourage them to build rentals.