First year of short term rentals program yields high licence compliance and escalated enforcement
We know that short-term rentals in Vancouver are an ongoing concern for many residents and the City has been at the forefront of addressing this global trend.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart
In the year since short-term rental regulations came into effect in Vancouver, the City has seen a high compliance rate with 73% of all active short-term rental operators obtaining a business licence. This is one of the highest licence compliance rates of any major North American city, and the result of the City’s online, low barrier application process and ongoing education with platforms and operators.
Review and audit program
Through a proactive review and audit program, 1,600 short-term rental addresses have been identified for review. To date, approximately one-quarter of all licences have been audited or flagged for audit to confirm compliance with City regulations. The audit program has also resulted in a tenfold increase in licence suspensions and voluntary licence cancellations since the spring.
“We know that short-term rentals in Vancouver are an ongoing concern for many residents and the City has been at the forefront of addressing this global trend,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “A year into our regulations we’ve seen promising results from our enforcement efforts and I’m looking forward to seeing how our approach continues to adapt to put the needs of Vancouver's long-term renters first.”
Enforcing the rules
The City continues to escalate legal action against commercial operators who are in contravention of regulations. In August, a commercial operator with a combined 35 short-term rental listings at two properties, who was previously fined $20,000 in provincial court, was fined two additional charges of $10,000 by the courts for unauthorized short-term rental activity at their second property. Total fines issued against this operator are $40,000.
Two other commercial operators were found guilty in Provincial Court for operating and marketing without a business licence. To date, 116 listings have been referred to the City Prosecutor’s Office.
“Since day one, the goals of our short-term rental regulations have been to protect long term rental housing, ensure public safety and bring operators into compliance with our bylaws,” said Kathryn Holm, Chief Licence Inspector. “This is a dynamic market with operators and listings continually shifting. Our approach over the last year, and in particular the adaptations we’ve made in the last five months, reinforce that our efforts are working and will continue to evolve as we go forward.”
As of August 30, 2019, the City’s data shows 5,866 active online listings in Vancouver. While an operator may only have one short-term rental licence for the property where they reside, they may list the unit on multiple online platforms.
City staff will bring a review of the short-term rentals program, including new proposals for licensing and enforcement, to Council this fall.
About the program
- The City’s short-term rental regulations were enacted by Council on April 18, 2018 and took full effect on September 1, 2018.
- As of August 30, 2019, the City has issued 4,025 short-term rental business licences.
- On September 5, 2018, there were 3,724 active short-term rental listings and 2,630 licenses issued, compared to over 6,600 listings prior to the regulations coming into effect.
- Operators who are ineligible to obtain a short-term rental business licence may apply for a long-term rental business licence at vancouver.ca/long-term-rentals
- The City is responsible for pursuing enforcement against operators who are not following the short-term rental regulations.
- Short-term rental licenses are suspended as result of operators not meeting principal residence requirements, failing to have strata or landlord permission to operate, operating illegal, unsafe or nuisance dwellings or failing to provide the requested documentation.
- In July 2019, City Council upheld the recommendations by the Deputy Chief Licence Inspector to suspend three short term rental business licences that did not comply with the City’s bylaws.
- Stats as of August 30, 2019:
- Warning letters: 642
- Violation tickets: 660
- Legal orders: 276
- Voluntary cancellations: 150
- Suspensions: 117
- Prosecution referrals: 116