COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Fines for having a short-term rental against a strata’s bylaws are about to make a sharp jump. The province is making the change as a part of it’s efforts to make B.C. more affordable.
“We’ve all heard the stories of renters losing their homes when units are pulled out of the rental market to be used as short-term rentals. With this change, we can ensure there is long-term rental stock for people and families who need them,” says Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Robinson says strata councils asked for an increase in a fine for people caught with short-term rentals in order to more effectively dissuade people from having them. She says short-term rentals like Airbnbs can bring along excess noise, property damage, and safety concerns for other people living in the building or complex.
Right now, strata councils can create and pass bylaws that either ban or limit short-term rentals and fine owners that don’t follow the rules. The maximum fine for breaking the rules is going up from $200 a week to $1,000 a day, starting at the end of November, to discourage short-term rentals.
“That will give them a tool that will help them manage their stratas better.”
The fine increase won’t be automatic–individual companies will need to adjust their own bylaws. Tony Gioventu, the executive director for the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C., says this will help open up more long-term rentals in places where people are struggling to find places to live.
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“We certainly see the impact on strata communities across the province with respects to Airbnb. We’ve seen seniors rentals in strata housing in communities like Pentiction, Kelowna…locations where they’re not longer being accessible to rental housing because many of the units are being used for Airbnbs,” he says.
He says the biggest problem with Airbnbs is that it’s not a “conventional” Airbnb where an owner lives in the unit and uses a second bedroom to rent out.
“We see far more investors who are buying properties and using them [solely] for short term rentals,” he says.
“All of the obligations of managing those investment properties are put onto the backs of the strata corporations.”
He calls the new regulation a welcome change.
-With files from Marcella Bernardo