British Columbia’s New Short-Term Rental Rules: Tackling Housing Crisis Posted In: Uncategorized

British Columbia (B.C.) has introduced new regulations under the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act in response to the rapid expansion of short-term rentals, such as those listed on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. These rentals have been diverting long-term rental properties onto the short-term market, exacerbating the housing crisis in the region. The key objectives of these new rules are to provide local governments with enhanced tools to enforce short-term rental bylaws, return short-term rental units to the long-term market, and establish a provincial role in regulating short-term rentals.

The regulations apply to all short-term rentals offered to the public, whether through online platforms, web listing forums, or classified ads in newspapers. However, they do not apply to reserve lands, Nisga’a Lands, or Treaty Lands of a Treaty First Nation (unless voluntarily opting in). They also exempt hotels and motels.

The new rules include provisions for strengthening local government enforcement tools, such as increased fines, business licensing authority for regional districts, and data sharing. Additionally, there’s a principal residence requirement that limits short-term rentals to the host’s primary residence and one secondary suite. This requirement applies to various communities, especially those with a population of 10,000 or more. The rules establish a provincial registry and compliance unit to ensure adherence.

The timeline for implementation spans over the next two years, with different aspects taking effect at various times. Increased fines and business licensing authority came into effect immediately after Royal Assent, while the principal residence requirement is set to start on May 1, 2024, followed by data sharing in the summer of 2024. The provincial registry and related requirements will be launched in late 2024.

Exempt areas from the principal residence requirement include certain communities with higher vacancy rates, and there’s a process for local governments to opt in or opt out based on their specific needs. Lastly, the act provides definitions for terms like short-term rentals, principal residence, platform service, secondary suite, and accessory dwelling unit. It also clarifies that some short-term rentals may not be covered under the Residential Tenancy Act.

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