New licencing bylaw drops short-term rental postings down by 47 per cent

By Staff Writer

A bylaw implemented to reign in Vancouver’s short term housing market seems to be effective, according to the City of Vancouver. Listings for short term rentals on sites such as Airbnb, Expedia, and Kijiji have dropped from 6,600 in April down to 3,742, a 47 per cent reduction.

Renting residences out to short-term visitors on sites such as Airbnb can be more lucrative for property owners, but the waxing market lowers the amount of housing available for long-term residents. The bylaw, introduced on April 19, requires renters of short-term residences to obtain a licence number and include the number in the online posting.

The bylaw gave short-term leasers until August 31 to obtain a business licence and according to the city, 70 per cent of all short-term rental listings now have the required licensc. Airbnb has removed 2,482 Vancouver listings that did not have a posted business licence number, and 660 listings have been removed by operators or converted to long-term rental.

Chief Licence Inspector Kathryn Holm has said that city staff are now “increasing enforcement against those still not in compliance with the bylaws.” Failure to obtain a licence may result in fines of up to $1,000 per platform posting, with escalating legal action.

However, some critics have pointed out a loophole in the bylaw: a leaser could simply put a fake licence number in the Airbnb posting.

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