Home Rental industry Vernon, BC plans to regulate short-term rentals – Okanagan

Vernon, BC plans to regulate short-term rentals – Okanagan


Short-term rental operators in Vernon, British Columbia may soon have new rules to follow.

The city of Okanagan plans to follow the lead of other tourist towns and regulate the industry, which includes listings on popular sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

The municipality says that currently some vacation rentals are impacting neighbors and there are concerns about the long-term rental market.

Specifically, the city says it has received complaints about issues such as noise and parking related to short-term rentals.

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A city report also said the growing vacation rental industry is putting more pressure on Vernon’s long-term rental market, where the vacancy rate is just 0.7%.

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Vernon’s proposed regulatory approach, which the city council approved in principle this week, is to create new classes of business licenses for short-term rentals.

Under the proposed new regulations, a minor short-term rental license would be available in any residential area and would allow people to rent out part of their primary residence on a short-term basis, but a property host would have to live on-site.

A major license would only be available in certain areas of the city and would allow renting an entire property on a short-term basis. With a major license, a manager should be available 24 hours a day, if needed, but would not have to live on-site.

The proposed bylaw has the support of Councilwoman Teresa Durning, who believes there needs to be some structure placed on the industry.

“In terms of tourism, I think that’s great and I think that’s beneficial, but again, we just don’t want everybody with a short-term rental to go rogue and do what he wants and allows havoc in neighborhoods,” Durning said.

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Counting only units listed on Airbnb and VRBO, the municipality says there are 274 short-term rentals in Vernon.

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Durning believes rentals are valuable to the local tourist economy, but need to be regulated.

“I believe this is an area that is growing and it can only get better for us here in Vernon, but we don’t want the neighbors all having negative experiences because we failed to regulate industry. We have the ability to do that in the municipality and I think we’re on the right track,” Durning said.

None of the 10 Vernon Airbnb hosts contacted by Global News to respond made themselves available for an interview by Tuesday’s broadcast deadline.

But in a post, a host told Global News that landlords still want access to their investment property in the summer and are therefore not renting long-term year-round. Another host wrote that he “does not support the government’s excessive and frivolous bureaucratic measures either.”

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Notably, in a municipal survey, only five of the 26 short-term rental hosts who responded said their space would have been rented to a long-term tenant if it hadn’t been used for a short-term rental.

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The city plans to finalize the details of the proposed new regulations and solicit additional comments in the coming months.

A public hearing is scheduled for early September.

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