Short-term rentals will no longer be permitted in many cases in Victoria, other than properties in transient zones (red) currently operating with a business license. (Map courtesy City of Victoria)

Victoria moves to regulate short term rentals

Low vacancy rates find slow relief as city cracks down on short term rentals

Victoria council took a decisive step in regulating short term rentals Thursday in hopes of freeing units to replenish the city’s depleted rental housing stock.

Council passed a bylaw amendment Thursday evening to remove short term rentals (STRs) from acceptable land use in transient zones, most of which are located in the downtown core. Those currently operating legal STRs in transient zones with business licences will be grandfathered in, and those renting one or two bedrooms out of a primary residence with a business licence, in all zones, will be permitted.

Victoria council chambers buzzed with the sounds of applause from opponents to the council’s proposed zoning bylaw at the public hearing, to the admonition of Coun. Marianne Alto and Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe.

But Coun. Ben Isitt said he was happy the bylaw amendment was adopted because it begins to address Victoria’s low vacancy rate.

“I think we need these units for housing, and that’s more important in my opinion than having these units used for commercial purpose of transient accommodation,” he said.

RELATED: Victoria cracks down on short term rentals

Although the bylaw amendment is now in effect, those hoping to find a quick resolution to the housing shortage may find slow relief. The City is now working on a draft regulatory framework to enforce STR bylaws, but those won’t come into effect until early 2018.

At committee of the whole, city staff recommended STRs be permitted only if two criteria are met: 1) the rental is in a person’s principle residence, and 2) they have a business licence. Owners would be allowed to rent their house when they are away on vacation, for example. The same use would be allowed with letter of permission from strata council if in a strata property, or from the landlord if in a rental property. Fees would range from $200 to $2500 per year depending on the type of rental, and operators would be required to display the business licence number in all listings.

In the meantime, Isitt said he hopes those currently operating STRs will start moving toward housing long-term tenants before the enforcement strategy comes into effect.

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

“The zoning regulations that were changed last night wont have a huge impact on anyone, but what it will do is in the longer term it will return those buildings to their intended residential use,” he said.

“I hope more and more owners will make that decision and decide no longer to rent their units on a short-term basis.”

The new STR framework would cost taxpayers around $512, 000, a cost not currently accounted for in the city’s budget, but one staff hopes will be offset by collecting fines and business licensing fees.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria council keeps its catered lunches at more than $10,000 per year

Two councillors tried to eliminate the expense, with widespread rejection

UPDATED: 12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Protesters rallied against Coastal GasLink pipeline

High-rise hotel proposed for downtown Victoria location

A 15-storey hotel could be coming to the Fort and Blanshard streets area

Rickter Scale: Where art thou, Sir John A?

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

Restrictions on unrelated occupants dominates Saanich council meeting

Saanich council sends issue of unrelated occupancy limits to public hearing

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Island river

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Vancouver Island man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car impounded after Port Alberni driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Most Read