The Government of British Columbia has introduced new rules under the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act to address the challenges posed by the rapid expansion of short-term rentals, such as those listed on platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, and FlipKey. The purpose of these rules is to:
- Give local governments stronger tools to enforce short-term rental bylaws.
- Increased fines and tickets for bylaw offenses.
- Regional districts can issue business licenses and increase maximum penalties.
- Short-term rental hosts in areas requiring a business license must display a valid license number on their listing.
- Short-term rental platforms must remove listings without valid business licenses as requested by local governments.
- Short-term rental platforms are required to share information about listings with the Province, which can be shared with local governments.
- Return short-term rental units to the long-term rental market.
- Implementing a provincial principal residence requirement limiting short-term rentals to the host’s principal residence plus one secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit.
- Certain areas and accommodations are exempted from this requirement, allowing local flexibility.
- Communities with a higher vacancy rate can request to “opt out” of the principal residence requirement.
- Establish Provincial oversight of short-term rentals.
- Creation of a short-term rental registry to ensure hosts and platforms comply with the rules.
- Introduction of a provincial compliance and enforcement unit to track compliance, issue orders, and administer penalties for violations.
The regulations and responsibilities under this act will be implemented in phases, with increased fines and tickets and new business licensing authority for regional districts becoming effective immediately after Royal Assent. The principal residence requirement and changes to legal non-conforming use protections will take effect on May 1, 2024. Data sharing is expected to start in Summer 2024, and the provincial registry launch is planned for late 2024.
It’s important to note that these rules aim to address the challenges associated with short-term rentals and provide local governments with tools to regulate them effectively. These regulations do not apply to hotels, motels, and certain other accommodations, and the information provided here might be subject to change during the legislative process. For specific legal advice or the most current information, individuals are advised to consult legal professionals or official government sources.