Airbnb Renters Beware! Rules Change Will Cost You $1000 in Fines

Due to the recent surge of short-term rental housing, British Columbia is taking action to curb the reduction of available rental homes.

Given these circumstances, strata corporations will have to enforce short term rental bylaws. Currently, strata corporations can restrict or ban short-term rentals and impose fines up to $200 a week. Rentals are seeing strong returns, and these fines would not be much of a deterrent.

However, these new rules will up to ante, hiking fines to a hefty $1000 per day, 35 times the current limit!

“We’ve all heard the stories of renters losing their homes when units are pulled out of the rental market to be used as short-term rentals. With this change, we can ensure there is long-term rental stock for people and families who need them,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “As part of our 30-point plan to improve housing affordability in B.C., we are supporting strata corporations to both deal with the noise and security issues that can sometimes come with short-term rentals, and also preserve rentals for the long term.”

The change will take effect on November 30, 2018, in order to allow short-term rental hosts time to adjust bookings and comply with a strata’s short-term rental bylaws.

“The new regulations will help define short-term commercial use as a different function than rentals, and provides some very real consequences for the violators,” said Tony Gioventu, executive director, Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. “For those strata corporations who prohibit short-term use, this is a valuable amendment. It will require strata corporations to amend their bylaws at a general meeting to permit the higher penalties, which in turn will provide the strata with a great opportunity to make sure the strata’s bylaw complies with provincial legislation.”

While these changes are happening in BC, it is only a matter of time before increased fines and stricter rules start being implemented across Canada, especially Toronto.

New rules passed in December by the Toronto city council include a ban on nightly rentals of self-contained basement apartments and otherwise vacant condos. These rules were supposed to be passed on June 1st, but challenges by the former Ontario Municipal Board, based on city rezoning required to enact Toronto’s new licensing rules, are now set to be heard Aug. 30 and 31.

If the late August hearing proceeds and the tribunal issues a decision, the city would likely then give all parties time before enforcing the rules.

Toronto hopes limiting such rentals to a host’s “primary residence” will stamp out so-called “ghost hotels,” which cater to visitors who come and go. Many councillors also worry that letting basement apartments and condo units become short-term rentals is depleting Toronto’s affordable housing stock.

Airbnb said in December that about 700 of its 10,000-plus Toronto “hosts” rented out secondary suites that would be illegal under the new bylaw. Other companies and individuals own many other units that would also become illegal.

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