The City of Victoria is working on short term rental regulations with the aim of moving units back into the long-term rental housing market. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Draft short term rental bylaw considered in Victoria

City gets negative feedback on vacation rental rules

Short term rental regulations are one step closer to reality in Victoria, despite the overwhelmingly negative feedback recently provided by residents and current vacation rental operators.

Sitting as committee of the whole Thursday, council approved a draft short term rental (STR) bylaw that would limit use to one or two bedrooms in a primary residence, or to whole units temporarily while the person who lives there is away. Fees for existing short term rentals were also considered.

RELATED: Victoria moves to regulate short term rentals

According to city staff, feedback suggested secondary suites should be allowed for short term rentals, but they did not recommend this change.

“We heard that many owners of secondary suites wanted to be able to use them as STRs, despite not living in the unit,” said city planner Shannon Jamison. “Secondary and garden suites are an important supply of rental housing, and therefore no change is proposed to the regulations.”

Council also heard results of community engagement sessions and survey responses conducted by city staff following a bylaw amendment in September that removed short term rentals (STRs) from acceptable land use in transient zones.

RELATED: Facebook group advocates for short term rental owners in Greater Victoria

RELATED: Tenant relocation plan recommended in Victoria city staff report

RELATED: Unaffordable housing blamed for Capital Region job shortages

According to the staff presentation, the majority of this round of feedback was related to the cost of business licences for STRs in non-principal residences, the only places full-unit vacation rentals will be allowed because they had been legally operating before the bylaw changes came into effect.

“Many felt that the $2,500 fee was too high and punitive,” Jamison said, adding that staff recommended further analysis to determine a more appropriate fee.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday said they aren’t going to be able to make everyone happy, but he supported the draft bylaw.

“I think this is a balanced approach that will allow some flexibility … while we make sure whole units of housing aren’t being taken out of the housing market,” he said. “I also support the idea of reviewing the $2,500 fee. We don’t want to be punitive.”

Blake MacKenzie, who created the Facebook group Greater Victoria Short Term Rental Alliance and who has worked in vacation rental sector since 2004, said he is glad council is reconsidering the licensing fee, but he sees limiting rentals to a primary residence – and excluding garden suites or carriage houses – as unfair.

“Most of the people that are doing this have stated, at least to us, that they have never had the intention to rent it out long-term … because they use it. It’s part of their lifestyle,” he said. “Our suggestion would be to create a regulatory framework that works for all, much like in the city of Seattle: run it for a few years, get the data you need, then see what the actual impact is.”

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

Just Posted

UPDATED: Man arrested on Richmond Avenue after standoff with police following ‘serious assault’

Police were called early Sunday morning following an assault in the building

VRBA warns Saanich of negative consequences if new DCC bylaw approved

Builders association says the cost of increasing DCCs will be borne by consumers

WestShore Skatepark Coalition faces uphill battle as costs jump $166,000

‘It feels like a David and Goliath situation,’ says coalition member

Victoria’s Christmas bird count set to take flight

More volunteers needed on the West Shore for Dec. 14 count

Victoria harpist releases ‘old school’ jazz album, makes singing debut

Musician ‘blown away’ by reactions to her seventh album Songs From the Harp

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Most Read