District of North Vancouver council is inching toward legalization and regulation of short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO.
As of May 5, there were 832 active listings in the district – up from 653 when the last count was done in January.
Under the proposed new regime, short-term rentals would be allowed to operate but only within the principal residence of the host, meaning no standalone homes, basement suites, coach houses or apartments could be offered on Airbnb unless the host lives within the same unit.
Those who would like to offer their home for short-term rentals would require a business licence. Revenue raised from the licences would be channeled into enforcement for those who flout the bylaw.
District council members met as a committee Monday to give staff some direction on whether to pursue a legalization and regulation framework and what kinds of rules should be included in the bylaws.
While there was some debate about what kinds of homes should be allowed to have STRS operate in them and whether there should be caps on the total number of licences or nights of accommodations allowed, there was consensus among council on one thing: The status quo was not working.
“The goal is ensuring that we have as many long-term rentals in our housing stock as possible,” said Coun. Catherine Pope.
Based on Vancouver’s experience with similar rules, roughly a third of the previously illegal short-term rentals were added to the long-term rental stock. In the district’s case, that could mean another 200 or 300 new rentals being made available, Pope said.
“Which would have a huge impact on people who are desperately needing rental housing right now,” she said.
Staff will now begin consultations with the North Shore Tourism Association and drawing up some proposed rules for short-term rentals for council to vote on in the months ahead. If council ops to pursue legalization, it likely won’t come into effect until 2024 followed by a period of public education before enforcement begins in 2025.
The province is expected to introduce new rules this fall that will make it harder for short-term rentals to operate without local approval and make it easier for municipalities to issue stiffer fines.