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Over 2,000 illegal short-term rentals gone after one year of new Vancouver regulations

Last Updated Nov 7, 2019 at 6:39 pm PST

Summary

Thousands of short-term rentals have been de-listed, thanks to the city of Vancouver's regulations

As of Oct. 10, more than 4,000 short-term rental licences have been issued in Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – More than 2,000 illegal short-term rental listings have been erased in Vancouver, according to Chief Licence Inspector Kathryn Holm.

She’s reporting a compliance rate of almost 73 per cent is proof regulations introduced by the city a year ago are working, but improvements are also being made.

As of last year, operators must have a business licence, which costs $49 annually, and the licence number must be included in their listings. Operators can only advertise their main residence and must have permission from their landlord or condo board to list a property, or they could face fines of up to $1,000 a day.

There are even more efforts coming. On Wednesday, Vancouver city council decided the city would establish a community group to identify ideas and concerns around short-term rentals. It will also review existing technologies in order to streamline enforcement, and plans to work with the real estate sector to bring awareness to the issue.

“One of the changes approved by council yesterday is to strengthen our enforcement ability if an operator and applicant misrepresents themselves in the application process,” Holm said at a news conference on Thursday. “There are occasions where folks have been misrepresenting themselves.”

She added $113,000 dollars in fines have already been collected from violators, including some commercial operators.

And more violators will be prosecuted this year.

“We have over 3,000 case files that we have tackled since we started and that number continues to grow, so yes, I’d say it is a matter of time until we find if a non-compliant operator continues to operate and we will continue to pursue enforcement action.”

Holm says the next step is to boost enforcement, but they’re not ready to start publicly shaming anyone quite yet.

“Certainly, through the court system, when a successful prosecution goes through, that becomes a public record, so there is that opportunity [for the information to be public], but, in the meantime, we’re focused on compliance, we’re focused on voluntary compliance and we continue to work with these operators to help them come into compliance with the bylaws.”

As of Oct. 10, more than 4,000 short-term rental licences have been issued in Vancouver.

With files from the Canadian Press