Victoria City Council amalgamation
Victoria City Hall - File Photo

This week, despite arguments made by homeowners who rent out their secondary suites on apps like Airbnb, the City of Victoria decided to place restrictions on vacation rentals.

According to a Times Colonist report, Victoria city councillors had two main motivating factors behind their decision:
  • The current housing crisis in the city
  • The unfairness of an unregulated vacation housing market operating at lower costs alongside conventional hotels, motels, inns, etc.

Secondary suites and garden suites are an important source of long-term housing, and the regulations will ensure that homeowners with secondary rental units currently being used as short-term vacation rentals are required to have a business license, and comply with all city bylaws.

Homeowners will still be allowed to rent out up to two rooms in their homes for short terms, provided the rooms are in their principal home, and not a secondary suite.

Back in September, zoning changes in a lot of downtown Victoria made it illegal for people to offer rentals of less than 30 days.

As a result of the draft short-term rental bylaw, homeowners would be required to:

• Obtain a business license

• Pay business license fees (to be determined)

• Provide a letter from the strata council that the rental is not contrary to strata bylaws

• Provide a letter from the property owner as proof of permission to operate a short-term rental.

• Comply with city bylaws.

• Post the business license number in all short-term rental advertisements.

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