Areas in red are currently zoned for vacation rentals. If the bylaw passes, short-term rentals will no longer be permitted in most cases. (Map courtesy City of Victoria)

Victoria cracks down on short-term rentals

Homeowners renting one or two bedrooms in their primary residence will not be affected

If you haven’t jumped on the AirBnB wagon yet, it may be too late.

Victoria council is discussing a bylaw amendment tonight that would ban new short-term rentals (STRs) across the city, a move that aims to prevent absentee property owners from renting out their space on a short-term basis and open up the long-term rental market.

The proposed changes would limit short-term rentals to one or two bedrooms within an already occupied, self-contained home, allowing homeowners to supplement their income while preventing new units from becoming STRs. City bylaws currently allow zones for “transient accommodation” – hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts, in most cases – but the amendment would remove vacation rentals from the list of available uses for that land, most of which are located downtown.

But if you’re hoping for a quick fix to the rental accommodation shortage, changes may be a long way off.

The bylaw will only apply to new uses, not existing ones. Those currently legally operating short-term rentals will be allowed to continue because of the legal non-conforming use provision in B.C.’s Local Government Act.

RELATED: Victoria moves to regulate short-term vacation rentals such as AirBnB

Staff are recommending that council give first and second reading to the proposed bylaw amendment and send the matter to public hearing.

City staff are currently working on creating the regulatory framework to enforce STR bylaws, including fines and new licensing fees. For now, all the city can do to prevent new ones from popping up is to remove STRs from acceptable land use across the board.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

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The City of Victoria’s rules related to short-term rentals such as Airbnb may be changing, as council seeks to slow the trend of revenue properties being switched from long-term to nightly or weekly rentals. (Airbnb)

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