Vancouver moves forward on short-term rental rules

If you want to provide a short-term rental in the City of Vancouver, you’ll be required to comply with new rules on April 18, 2018.

Last November, 2017, Vancouver council approved new regulations for short-term rentals of less than 30 days, imposing multiple requirements on owners and tenants marketing short-term rentals on sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway.

On April 18, 2018, city council will formally enact these new short-term regulations.

Once passed, owners or renters will be required to apply for a new short-term rental business licence online. The license fee is $49, along with a one-time $54 administrative fee.

  • Short-term rentals are allowed in principal residences only, where the owner or tenant typically lives and receives mail. Short-term rentals in commercial or secondary/investment properties are not allowed.
  • Both owners and tenants can short-term rent their principal residence. Permission will be needed from both the strata and landlord, if applicable. Strata bylaws cannot prohibit short-term rentals.
  • Bed and breakfast operators will continue to be licensed under their existing licensing requirements. Short-term rentals aren’t permitted in a principal residence already offering bed and breakfast accommodation.
  • Anyone operating a short-term rental will need to comply with being a ‘good neighbour’ and meet certain requirements at the time of licence application. This requirement checklist outlines what is necessary to offer a short-term rental space, such as noise, parking and fire safety regulations so that potential operators can be prepared should any changes be necessary.
  • Home owners with a licensed short-term rental will need to post a fire safety plan by all entrances and exits and have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.
Allowed Not Allowed
It’s your principal residence, where you live most the year and the residential address you use for bills, identification, taxes and insurance. It’s not your principal residence – you don’t live there most of the year.
It’s a legal dwelling unit – a home with an address that complies with all applicable regulations, including building code and fire safety. It’s an illegal dwelling unit – it doesn’t comply with applicable regulations, including building code and fire safety.
If you’re in a strata, bylaws support short-term rentals in your building. If you live in a strata, your strata bylaws don’t support short-term rentals in your building.
If you’re renting, your landlord allows you to sublet our home as a short-term rental. If you’re a renter, your landlord doesn’t allow you to sublet your home as a short-term rental.
You have a short-term rental business licence.

Secondary suites, laneway homes, and other secondary residences

Short-term rentals will be permitted in a principal residence which include a secondary suite, laneway house, or lock-off unit − provided it’s a principal residence.

Short-term rentals won’t be permitted in non-principal residences, including secondary suites and laneway homes. However, if the rental vacancy rate climbs to four per cent, the city will review this ban.

Secondary homes rented short-term by investors will remain illegal.

March 2018 Housing Market Update – Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

Policy Induced Demand Slide Does Little to Impact Supply

Vancouver, BC – April, 2018. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,409 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in March, a 24.6 per cent decrease from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $726,930, up 5.3 per cent from the previous year. Total sales dollar volume was $5.39 billion, a 20.6 per cent decline from March 2017.

“More burdensome mortgage qualifications are having the predictable effect of swiftly curbing housing demand,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “You simply cannot pull as much as 20 per cent of the purchasing power away from conventional mortgage borrowers and not create a downturn in consumer demand.”

Despite the decline in consumer demand, the supply of homes for sale remains low in most BC regions. Total active listings on the market are essentially unchanged from March 2017, and are at or near a 12-year low across the province. As a result, home prices are expected to continue an upward trajectory.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 1.7 per cent to $13.9 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales decreased 9.4 per cent to 18,927 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 8.5 per cent to $732,243.

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Housing Starts – April, 2018

Canadian housing starts fell 3 per cent on a monthly basis in march to 225,213 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts was steady at about 226,000 units SAAR.

In BC, total housing starts jumped 48 per cent on a monthly basis to 46,629 units SAAR with multiple unit starts rising over 60 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, total starts in the province were 4 per cent higher.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC:

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were up 60 per cent on a monthly basis after falling close to 40 per cent in February. Year-over-year, Vancouver starts were up 6 per cent. The 32,000 unit annual pace set in March was the result of an increase in both condo and rental units in core parts of the Metro area including the City of Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver.
  • In the Victoria CMA, housing starts were down 5 per cent on a monthly basis but were almost double the level of March 2017 due to a surge of new multi-unit starts. Apartment starts were 77 per cent higher than March last year while single detached starts were down 32 per cent.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, new home construction bounced back from a slow February with total housing starting rising by over 4 times the previous months activity.  However, starts were down 68 per cent compared to what was a very busy March of 2017.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA  increased 71 per cent on a monthly basis but were down 20 per cent year-over-year, largely due to lower single detached starts. Multiple unit starts were essentially flat compared to last year.

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Employment – April, 2018

Canadian employment grew by 32,000 jobs in March, driven by mostly full-time gains while the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 per cent. Over the past 12-months, employment in Canada is up by close to 300,000 jobs while total hours worked is up 2.2 per cent.  For the first quarter, however, employment is down 40,000 jobs due large job losses to start the year.

In BC, employment fell by 3,900 jobs as a surge in full-time employment (up almost 24,000 jobs) was offset by falling part-time employment. Overall, the level of employment in BC has been trending sideways for several months and was up just 1.3 per cent year-over-year in March. The provincial unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7 per cent.

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezanni.