Is B.C. really banning short-term rentals?

    Douglas magazine - Airbnbust - feb/mar 2024

    The statistics are daunting. There has been a jaw-dropping 845 per cent growth in Airbnb listings in Canada since 2012. And a groundbreaking report by Dr. David Wachsmuth of McGill University sheds light on the undue influence of short-term rentals on housing prices here in B.C.:

    In the summer of 2023, approximately 16,810 homes shifted from residential to investor-owned, short-term rentals, triggering a 19 per cent decline in housing availability.

    The rapid resurgence of short-term rentals in 2022 created a 28.1 per cent increase in rent that year.

    The top 10 per cent of hosts earn nearly half of all revenue.

    Tenants provincewide bore an extra $2 billion in rent between 2016 and 2021.

    Enter the B.C. government. “Anyone who’s looking for an affordable place to live knows how hard it is, and short-term rentals are making it even more challenging,” says Premier David Eby.

    The Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act, effective July 2024, will limit short-term rentals to the host’s primary residence, plus one secondary suite or accessory dwelling. But the legislation is not a blanket ban. Reserve lands, hotels, motels and resort communities are exempt as are many smaller towns in the province. The maximum fine for offences will increase from $2,000 to $50,000. 

    Not everyone is happy. Smaller owner/investors who depend on short-term rentals to supplement income or as a retirement investment will now have to sell or rent long term. The new rules have sent vacation and event plans up in the air, and there are concerns about accommodation for workers in construction, film and other industries. Companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo, and their hosts, have until May to comply with the new rules. If you have booked a short-term rental for next summer, better make sure you can still stay there.