Listing for a whole suite in Fairfield on AirBnB as of Friday morning. (Screenshot)

EDITORIAL: Legal battle looming over vacation rentals

Owners of properties used for short-term rentals (STR), as well as companies that manage those properties, are getting ready to fight the City of Victoria’s proposed regulations. It’s a battle the City likely saw coming.

We’re not surprised that some residents, fighting for the right to earn additional income on revenue properties, are up in arms at the City choosing to regulate the industry.

We’ve heard from owners, including those operating legal STRs, that they want the City to use hard data to prove the industry is having a detrimental effect on the residential rental market, and to make sure regulations are fair.

Regulating this industry is still a relatively new science, and although there are lessons to learn from Vancouver, Whistler and cities south of the border, we should know what is happening here before making drastic changes.

Which is why we’re happy the City is contracting an independent company to collect data on Victoria’s vacation rental industry.

Those details are not known, but the issues facing Victoria are common in North America. Governments are struggling to balance peoples’ property rights with the impact on neighbours, in terms of affordability and quality of life. For tourist destinations like Victoria, these issues can be even more pronounced.

Owners of these properties may find the business licence fees too high, or regulations too tight to continue business, but they are still left with reasonable options.

Victoria isn’t going to lose its tourism-appeal overnight. If property owners find the situation untenable, they can always go back to renting to long-term tenants, and with such a low vacancy rate, they’re sure to find tenants lining up.

Buyers, too, will be quick to snatch up the homes and condos whose owners can’t or won’t continue in the short-term rental business. That’s what the City’s initial goal was, anyway, to open up the housing market, and that could be the result.

However, we’re glad the City is taking a closer look at the situation so councillors can make an informed decision.

Just Posted

Heat and smoke raises health risks

Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror Health risks arising from heat and… Continue reading

Esquimalt man faces four charges of sexual assault, investigators suspect more victims

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Greater Victoria-based digital crisis line sees spike in chats

Service allows youth to chat with volunteers through instant messaging services, text message

Mark your calendar with these West Shore events

Three great coming up this week including a movie screening, water gun battle and car show

Rollover crash in Colwood occurred after driver had epileptic seizure

Colwood Fire used the Jaws of Life to extricate two people inside the vehicle

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Most Read