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B.C. Greens call for immediate action on short-term rentals

May 2, 2023
   3 min read
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For immediate release

May 2, 2023 

VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green Caucus is calling on the Province to regulate the short-term rental industry, in order to reduce effects on the housing crisis and improve safety for renters and hosts.

“Currently, British Columbia has no system to accurately identify the number or type of housing units in the short-term rental market,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. 

“Even in municipalities with existing bylaws and business license programs, hundreds if not thousands of units listed on these sites are unlicensed.”

“Short-term rentals have fundamentally changed the housing market on the Southern Gulf Islands. We’ve seen many long-term rentals lost to short-term and vacation rentals creating a challenging dynamic for workforce housing and family housing on all of the Southern Gulf Islands,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. 

According to Independent watchdog Inside Airbnb there are just under 6,000 listings in Vancouver alone with 82% of them being entire homes or apartments.

“Without platform accountability and provincial funding and support to enforce municipal bylaws, it is impossible to properly regulate the industry and keep people safe,” continued Furstenau. 

The B.C. Green Caucus is joining the voices of local government officials and calling for action from the Province to regulate short-term rentals.

“We have a patchwork of policies across the province and local governments do not have the resources to address this challenge on their own. Unregulated short-term rentals – or short-term rentals that are acting out of compliance with local bylaws – exacerbate the housing crisis and put people at risk, as we saw in Montreal earlier this spring.”

The B.C. Green Caucus is asking the BC NDP government to: 

  1. Introduce legislation that establishes a provincial registry of short-term rentals and enables data sharing between local governments, the province, and rental platforms.
    1. Increase short-term rental platform accountability by ensuring they only accept listings with a valid provincial registry number or valid local government license. 
  2. Authorize Regional Districts to issue business licenses.
  3. Support compliance and enforcement by:
    1. Offering immediate funding supports for local governments so that they can enforce their existing bylaws.
    2. Simplify ticketing procedures.
    3. Expand options to compel payment of unpaid fines.
    4. Increase allowable fines for non-compliance.

“The BC NDP has shown us before that if they have political will, things can happen quickly; the Coquihalla was rebuilt in a record 66 days after the floods last year. I hope they have the political will to act on this,” said Furstenau.

“We know that the Province is working very hard to increase supply, and has promised to introduce legislation in the fall to allow for density zoning and legal secondary suites – but without meaningful work on the short-term rentals issue, there is a very real risk that as new homes come online, many will become short-term rentals, rather than homes for people.”

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Media contact
JoJo Beattie
Press Secretary
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | jojo.beattie@leg.bc.ca

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