The City of Victoria needs to crackdown on Airbnb and other vacation rentals before the problem gets out of control, says one city councillor.
With rental vacancies sitting at 0.6 per cent, Coun. Jeremy Loveday said the city needs to take action quickly to get ahead of the on-going house-sharing issue.
“More units are going up on vacation rental sites such as Airbnb, so at this point we have a housing crisis in the city in terms of rental housing and we need to look at all forms of action we can take to solve that,” Loveday said. “One of the options available for us in terms of triage, not allowing things to get worse, is to regulate Airbnb.”
Airbnb is a house-sharing service that allows residents to rent rooms and apartments for a fee.
Loveday hears from residents everyday about how they can’t find apartments or are getting evicted because the houses they’re living in are going up for sale.
“At that point, you have to look at what impact this is having on residents of Victoria who need a place to live,” Loveday said.
“It’s about getting ahead of it. It’s already having an impact on rental vacancies. The issue is growing in Victoria and that’s why we need to address it with urgency.”
He was quick to note, he’s not concerned about people renting out rooms that would otherwise be vacant or someone who rents their room if they go away for the weekend, but hopes to target people who have multiple units cross the city and are running vacation real-estate businesses without a business licence and outside zoning bylaws.
City staff are currently working on a report about options for regulating Airbnbs which will be presented to council within the next two months.
A search of the Airbnb website shows there are more than 300 rentals in Victoria, ranging from $49 to $109 a room per night.