B.C. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson (Black Press files)

B.C. moves to crack down on short-term condo rentals

Strata councils can soon assess fines of up to $1,000 a day for unauthorized rentals

Short-term rentals can turn condominiums into hotel rooms, with parties, noise and a decrease in suites available for longer-term rent in markets with low vacancy rates.

That’s the reasoning of Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson, who has announced new authority for strata councils to stop owners from using AirBnB and other services to rent out their suites in violation of building bylaws.

Effective Nov. 30, strata councils can assess fines of up to $1,000 a day on owners, up from the current $200 a day, Robinson announced Wednesday.

The delay is to give short-term rental hosts time to adjust their bookings to comply with their strata’s bylaws.

Strata councils already have the ability to restrict or ban short-term rentals of condos, and Robinson says the popularity of short-term rentals has driven up housing purchase costs as well as rental rates for people looking to live and work rather than vacation.

Local governments have also moved to restrict short-term rentals, to protect hotels that pay higher property taxes and employ more people.

RELATED: Victoria moves to restrict vacation rentals

RELATED: AirBnB to collect B.C. sales tax on rentals

“Short-term rentals are a huge concern to strata corporations,” said Sandy Wagner, president of the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association. “The wear and tear on common property, as well as the security concerns caused by a steady stream of unknown occupants are just a few of the reasons why VISOA, on behalf of our members, are pleased to support the proposed amendments to the strata property regulation, which will permit strata corporations to assess fines at a real deterrent level.”

The ministry estimates that more than 1.5 million people now live in strata properties, including apartments, duplexes, townhouses, shared vacation properties and single-family homes built on bare-land strata property.

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