So, you’re thinking of becoming an Aribnb host and turning your awesome Vancouver property into a short term rental… You want to capitalize on Airbnb’s popularity among tourists visiting large cities, as the rates typically beat hotel deals, particularly for visits that last more than a few days. In addition, you are probably aware that you can make way more money from your property in this way. One last question remains: is Airbnb legal in Vancouver? What is the legal environment of this lucrative Airbnb business?
Airbnb isn’t without controversy, and much like the popular Uber app that can allow you to turn your car into a taxi, many cities are attempting to ban the service. In the early stages of Airbnb’s arrival to Vancouver, city officials kept a close eye on the impact it was having on short-term rentals, according to the Vancouver Sun. That was in July.
By November, CBC news was reporting some issues that were beginning to surface in the city as a result of Airbnb. Several building owners began to express concerns over the use of spaces they were currently renting out. These spaces were being sublet by their residents to Airbnb users. Often, these people conduct their business improperly and have never asked themselves is Airbnb legal in Vancouver.
The Big question: Is Airbnb legal in Vancouver? What’s the Law?
According to Zoning and Development Bylaw 10.21.6, “rentals for a period of less than one month are not permitted unless the unit is part of a hotel or bed and breakfast”.
So technically, anyone using Airbnb to rent out their apartment or house in Vancouver for less than a month is in direct violation of the city’s very specific bylaw. The issue is that this becomes a very difficult rule to regulate, as we can see from the fact that there are thousands (!) of Airbnb listings in the Greater Vancouver area. With the technology giving rise to this new mode of business, and the appearance of numerous vacation rental management companies, it’s likely that legislation will have to be changed or new systems will have to be put in place to prevent the misuse of Airbnb hosting, even if steps are taken to make Aribnb legal in Vancouver. Vancouver City Hall has already taken steps towards making these changes, and we have covered that in this article.
How Airbnb Impacts Other Businesses
As a direct result of the surge in Airbnb usage, other side-businesses have sprung up to complement the service with convenient offerings like key-exchange service, airport pick-up/drop off, or Airbnb property management services. One such company is BnBCare, based out of Vancouver 😉 Besides offering guest pick-up and drop off, we’ll even do the laundry for your rental unit! It’s a new direction for the management industry that has vacation property management companies learning the ropes of a business that’s more similar to hotel-operation than typical income-property operation.
There is only one business sector that renting on Airbnb impacts negatively, and it is very obvious what it is: hotels. Since Airbnb listings are usually priced to compete with hotels, the tourists are left with more money to spend on restaurants and attractions. Additionally, some people who could not afford to travel because of hotel prices now have an option. This, basically, does boost the economy of the city, redistributing money directly into the property owner’s pockets. But the one question that everyone keeps asking themselves remains: is Aribnb legal in Vancouver, and what do we do about it?
The Continued Success of Airbnb business
Despite concerns from the city and an apparent hole in the availability of short-term housing in the Vancouver area, Airbnb seems to be thriving as its number of users continues to grow and Airbnb property management businesses design themselves around the concept of short-term rental, all the while wondering is Airbnb legal in Vancouver.
The service was founded in 2008 and already in 2015 they have received an astonishing valuation of over $25-billion dollars. As one CNN columnist noted, that’s a particularly astonishing number when you consider that Airbnb has yet to become a publicly traded company. There are rumors that the company may go public in 2016, but with the amount of private capital that they’ve been able to garner thus far, they are in no rush to open the floodgates just yet.