Airbnb objections intensify in Vancouver—councillor

A Vancouver city councillor noted that calls for regulation and investigation of Airbnb have intensified among locals, many of which have voiced concerns that the rental-lodge network is using a disproportionate amount of the city’s low cost housing.
“The number of complaints is starting to rise,” Councillor Geoff Meggs told The Globe and Mail.
Recent studies revealed that Vancouver saw the number of listings shoot up to 4,728 at the end of 2015, from just 2,900 the year before. Nearly 70 per cent of these rentals are tagged as “whole unit” or “whole house”, a development which has led housing advocates and other local officials to petition for a deeper look into Airbnb’s system.
“We want as quick a timeline as possible,” added Meggs, who is championing a request this week for the city council to initiate further studies on the home rental giant.
“People are making the connection now between diminishing housing and the Airbnb listings, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the city’s policy and enforcement,” according to a local advocate who declined to be named.
Certain Vancouverites have taken their stances a step further, with an apartment near City Hall on West 10th Avenue even going so far as to add “No Airbnb” signage due to protests raised by the tenants.
But while many locals have welcomed Airbnb’s newfound position in the spotlight, some doubt the possibility of significant progress.
“I’m skeptical that Airbnb is going to be willing to co-operate. I’m wondering how are they going to collect this data,” Simon Fraser University graduate student Karen Sawatzky said. Her research involves the rental network’s impact on the local market.

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  • by Michael 2016-04-04 1:24:09 PM

    Keep government interference out of what little free market options that we have left in ownership! Leave Airbnb alone!
    If the landlord and tenant act was more considerate of the landlords rights, then there would be more rental property available to long term tenants. But I recoil at the thought of renting out my property to tenants who take advantage of the system! I've been burnt too many times and can count that I have lost years of rental income from deliberate rental system defaulters!

  • by Free market man 2016-04-04 1:52:47 PM

    Nonsense... Airbnb does not have anything to do with the lack of affordable housing in any area. Vancouver's over-inflated market and high volume of foreign investment into condos and apartments that remain vacant for years is a far bigger factor. I agree with Michael...stay out of owners business.

  • by JD 2016-10-22 12:02:28 AM

    Short-stay visitors represent a distinct demographic--people who cannot afford or do not wish to stay either in a room in a house or in a hotel. They are typically "staying local" for a truly local experience...spending in localized small businesses, paying to locals (not foreign chains) who, in turn, spend locally. Suites in some areas are improved--a net gain to neighbourhoods and the City--to attract visitors. In my own case, we welcome extended family, and when empty, invite short-stays so help pay the mortgage that I, as a senior with a minimal pension, could not otherwise afford. We offset a slow season with support to local theatre providing discount accommodation for visiting playwrights, actors, etc. We also house visiting international academics who could not otherwise conduct conduct projects locally, and even government officials on projects away from their base.

    I have not seen any attention to the economic benefit to neighbourhoods that would not otherwise receive visitor dollars, to the impact on small businesses versus foreign owned chains, etc. I have not seen any study into the effect on seniors who are not able to enjoy life because every penny goes into keeping a roof over one's head. I have not seen an analysis of those who have property becuase they do not have pensions--a common scenario for the self-employed.

    There are existing means to control abuses. The hype over this issue seems to be driven by hoteliers who don't like the competition (though pretty poor if a hotel with all its amenities is worried about small short-stay holdings) and people who somehow think that today's mortgages can be covered by reasonable rents. The fact is, if I let the suite to a long term renter, I contribute to raising the cost of rents (because I am no longer able to subsidize the cost of increasing property taxes, costs, etc.) If I let the suite to short-stay visitors, I maintain socialization, welcome remote relatives maintaining important networks as I age, and also give back to my community by supporting local organizations by meeting their accommodation needs.

    What is wrong with this? Why shouldn't a person be able to use his/her assets to support them in old age? Why should the needs of a person starting out trump (!) those of a person nearing the end?

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