Unlicensed Vancouver Hosts May Face Large Fines

Starting September, rentals operator working on short-term basis but are unlicensed in Vancouver will be fined S$1,040 daily. This is in a bid to make the home sharing regulations tighter in Canada’s most expensive property market by the Airbnb Inc.
In the deal involving Airbnb and Vancouver city authorities, every host will have to display a license number on ads depicting that they have legal standing for short-term deals. Officials in Vancouver say Airbnb (based in San Fransisco) will account for about 88% of 6,600 short-term rental programs available in Vancouver.

The set measures’ main intentions is to stop unregulated market, which is responsible for causing problems in the Pacific Coast capital where the long-term supply of tenants is almost zero while the vacation rentals business continues to thrive. The city took two years to come up with these measures after reviewing policies used by 14 other North American cities and Berlin. They then concluded that those were enforceable rules

During a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Gregor Robertson termed the pact as “the first of its kind.” He went on to say that, the main of the regulations is to make sure that the housing serves as homes to people who live and work in Vancouver. From 19 April, Airbnb will consist of an extra field in its official website that will allow people to register their businesses and obtain a license number, which they will obtain from an online service that will be launch on that very day. Listing a business without a license number will no longer be possible for the new hosts while the existing hosts will have up until 31 August to acquire one.

The authorities in Vancouver plan to pursue violators aggressively. Under the set agreement, Airbnb will be responsible for keeping records of all the housing programs in Vancouver and collect municipal taxes from all its hosts. This will make it easier to identify violations and sending of inspectors for auditing purposes.

In earlier times, Vancouver depended on public complaints for it to identify violators. This made it hard for action to be taken because identifying a short-term rental from a long-term one is very hard. The new regulations, however, seek to reduce the burden of proof and unleash fines for businesses without a listing.

To curb those who might be planning to evade the rules by moving to other home-sharing websites, the city is planning to contact and make an agreement similar to that of Airbnb with Expedia Group Inc and HomeAway amongst other sites. This will ensure that only licensed businesses are allowed to operate on those sites as well. The capital is also in talks with TripAvdisor Inc as well.

Only principal residences will be allowed to have short-term rentals, but the houses must be occupied for at least 180 days every year. However, it remains illegal to rent a property for investments, laneway homes and other secondary units for stays of less than 30 days.
According to officials, anybody caught renting ineligible properties will be fined C$1,000 every day with immediate effect.

More on Vancouver’s Regulations can be found here on Airbnb site.



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