VANCOUVER — Homeowners groups in British Columbia will soon be able to fine owners or residents up to $1,000 a day for defying the corporation’s bylaws on short-term rentals.
The B.C. government says the regulations for the so-called strata corporations will be changed as of Nov. 30 to help the associations address short-term rentals, such as those arranged through Airbnb and other vacation websites.
Housing Minister Selina Robinson says in a news release that it’s common to hear stories of long-term renters losing their homes when units are pulled out of the market to be used as short-term rentals.
Robinson says her government is supporting strata corporations to deal with the noise and security issues that can sometimes come with short-term rentals, and also preserve rentals for the long term.
Strata corporations can pass bylaws that restrict or ban short-term rentals and fine owners or residents who aren’t complying, but the maximum fine is currently $200 a week.
Nearly 1.5 million people in B.C. live in strata housing, where the governing corporation is made up of the owners in the housing complex.
“Short-term rentals are a huge concern to strata corporations,” says Sandy Wagner, president of the board of directors of the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association, in the release.
“The wear and tear on the common property, as well as the security concerns caused by a steady stream of unknown occupants are just a few of the reasons why (the association), on behalf of our members, is pleased to support the proposed amendments … which will permit strata corporations to assess fines at a real deterrent level.”
Airbnb spokeswoman Lindsey Scully says in a statement that when hosts sign up on the website, they must certify that they will comply with local rules before they list their space. The site also have a hosting responsibilities page that reminds people to check their local laws and regulations and includes additional information and resources, she says.
“The overwhelming majority of Airbnb hosts and guests are good neighbours and respectful travellers,” she says. “We want to do everything we can to help our community members be good neighbours in places they call home.”
The Canadian Press