Airbnb renters could face fines of $1000 a day in BC rule change

British Columbia is taking action to curb the reduction of available rental homes caused by owners opting for the surging short-term rental market.

The popularity of services including Airbnb has been blamed for tightening availability of rental homes and the government has now announced a change to its Strata Property Regulation.

It will mean that strata corporations will be supported in enforcing short-term rental bylaws.

Currently strata corporations can restrict or ban short-term rentals and impose fines of a maximum $200 a week. With the high returns available from these rentals, that is not a strong deterrent.

But the new rules will hike fines to a hefty $1000 per day – 35 times the current limit!

“We’ve all heard the stories of renters losing their homes when units are pulled out of the rental market to be used as short-term rentals. With this change, we can ensure there is long-term rental stock for people and families who need them,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “As part of our 30-point plan to improve housing affordability in B.C., we are supporting strata corporations to both deal with the noise and security issues that can sometimes come with short-term rentals, and also preserve rentals for the long term.”

The change will take effect on Nov. 30, 2018, in order to allow short-term rental hosts time to adjust bookings and comply with a strata’s short-term rental bylaws.

“The new regulations will help define short-term commercial use as a different function than rentals, and provides some very real consequences for the violators,” said Tony Gioventu, executive director, Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. “For those strata corporations who prohibit short-term use, this is a valuable amendment. It will require strata corporations to amend their bylaws at a general meeting to permit the higher penalties, which in turn will provide the strata with a great opportunity to make sure the strata’s bylaw complies with provincial legislation.”

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