Vancouver: Trend Setter
The city of Vancouver has become the first North American city to come to an agreement with Airbnb, setting new ground rules in hopes of curbing some of the rental shortages we are seeing in the city. As of April 19, 2019, property owners in Vancouver who would like to rent their properties on sites like Airbnb (for the sake of this article, I will refer to all of them under that umbrella) are required to apply for a business permit and can only rent out a property at is their primary residence. Renters can also post to Airbnb with the landlord’s permission. While hundreds of landlords are not actually abiding by these new rules, Airbnb has been working with the City and has a few ways of preventing infractions.
But since you are, of course, a noble law-abiding citizen, let’s take a look at what happens after you obtain your license in a few different scenarios. Spoiler Alert: having a license is just the first step and does not guarantee you can Airbnb your place.
If you own a house and have a valid license, you are permitted to rent your home out as you see fit. However, I would always advise you to speak to your insurance company as some contracts can actually become void if you rent out your place for any amount of time. While companies like Airbnb do have some coverage options, Home Protection Insurance AND Home Guarantee Insurance are recommended to protect your property as well as yourself in case of a mishap. Remember, this is your home and no matter how much you vet the renters, things can always happen.
If you own a condo or a townhouse, you are most likely part of a Strata. This is where your strata fees go and the Strata Council, along with the Strata Corporation, takes care of maintenance, snow removal, gardening and waste removal mong other things, as well as enforces by-laws and ensures the security of the building and its occupants. With this, the strata council will most likely have specific by-laws related to renting both long term and short term. Many buildings do not allow rentals, some have a restriction on how many units in the building can be rented at one time, some allow rentals for a minimum of let’s say 6 months and some, although fewer and fewer these days, have zero rental restrictions whatsoever. So, whether you can rent on Airbnb depends on your particular building by-laws and infractions can result in fines from the Strata Corporation. Like detached homes, I always recommend calling your insurance provider to ensure you will be covered by renters.
As I mentioned above, renters CAN rent their places on Airbnb but only if they have permission from their landlord, have the business license and conform to the Strata by-laws.
So there you have it. Of course, people still rent their homes out without following all or any of these requirements but it is easier than ever to get the proper licenses etc. so I always recommend it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
The City of Vancouver Short-term Rental Website
Application For Your Business License
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