Mayor to Support Motion to Assess Short-Term Rental Impacts

March 29, 2016 | Jobs and the Economy

Mayor Gregor Robertson will be supporting a motion at City Council Tuesday that directs City of Vancouver staff to work with AirBNB and other listing services to collect data on the frequency and volume of short-term rental housing, as well as their potential economic and affordability impacts on the City. The motion will be introduced by Councillor Geoff Meggs.

“We are looking at all tools available to the City to create a level playing field for access to affordable, quality rental housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Collecting the data on short-term rentals is the first step to understanding its effects – both positive and negative – on our housing market, economy, and our residents. I support Councillor Meggs’ motion and hope that Council will support moving this task forward.”

With a vacancy rate of less than 1 per cent, the City is receiving increasing complaints about short-term rentals from both renters and homeowners. Currently, the City’s Zoning and Development by-law prohibits rentals for less than 30 days, unless accompanied by an appropriate business license. Recent third party estimates of AirBNB listings in Vancouver show that possibly more than 4,000 units are being offered for rent, potentially affecting vacancy rates.

The motion directs staff, in consultation with external stakeholders like the Renters Advisory Committee, to report to Council as soon as possible on:

  • The overall data on short-term rentals
  • The impact of short-term rentals in Vancouver
  • The impact of short-term rentals on housing stock
  • Options to mitigate negative impacts of short-term rentals on both rental and home ownership housing
  • Steps other cities are taking to address short-term rental issues

2015 was a record-breaking year for creating rental housing in Vancouver, with more than 1,300 new rental units approved by City Council. Vancouver provides nearly half of the rental housing in the Lower Mainland and more than a quarter of the rental housing for all of British Columbia. Rental units make it possible for low and moderate income households to live in Vancouver, and remain a key priority for the City as part of Vancouver’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy.