The City of Victoria is working on short term rental regulations with the aim of moving units back into the long-term rental housing market. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

The City of Victoria is working on short term rental regulations with the aim of moving units back into the long-term rental housing market. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Draft short term rental bylaw considered in Victoria

City gets negative feedback on vacation rental rules

Short term rental regulations are one step closer to reality in Victoria, despite the overwhelmingly negative feedback recently provided by residents and current vacation rental operators.

Sitting as committee of the whole Thursday, council approved a draft short term rental (STR) bylaw that would limit use to one or two bedrooms in a primary residence, or to whole units temporarily while the person who lives there is away. Fees for existing short term rentals were also considered.

RELATED: Victoria moves to regulate short term rentals

According to city staff, feedback suggested secondary suites should be allowed for short term rentals, but they did not recommend this change.

“We heard that many owners of secondary suites wanted to be able to use them as STRs, despite not living in the unit,” said city planner Shannon Jamison. “Secondary and garden suites are an important supply of rental housing, and therefore no change is proposed to the regulations.”

Council also heard results of community engagement sessions and survey responses conducted by city staff following a bylaw amendment in September that removed short term rentals (STRs) from acceptable land use in transient zones.

RELATED: Facebook group advocates for short term rental owners in Greater Victoria

RELATED: Tenant relocation plan recommended in Victoria city staff report

RELATED: Unaffordable housing blamed for Capital Region job shortages

According to the staff presentation, the majority of this round of feedback was related to the cost of business licences for STRs in non-principal residences, the only places full-unit vacation rentals will be allowed because they had been legally operating before the bylaw changes came into effect.

“Many felt that the $2,500 fee was too high and punitive,” Jamison said, adding that staff recommended further analysis to determine a more appropriate fee.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday said they aren’t going to be able to make everyone happy, but he supported the draft bylaw.

“I think this is a balanced approach that will allow some flexibility … while we make sure whole units of housing aren’t being taken out of the housing market,” he said. “I also support the idea of reviewing the $2,500 fee. We don’t want to be punitive.”

Blake MacKenzie, who created the Facebook group Greater Victoria Short Term Rental Alliance and who has worked in vacation rental sector since 2004, said he is glad council is reconsidering the licensing fee, but he sees limiting rentals to a primary residence – and excluding garden suites or carriage houses – as unfair.

“Most of the people that are doing this have stated, at least to us, that they have never had the intention to rent it out long-term … because they use it. It’s part of their lifestyle,” he said. “Our suggestion would be to create a regulatory framework that works for all, much like in the city of Seattle: run it for a few years, get the data you need, then see what the actual impact is.”

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

affordable housingHousingHousing Crunchshort term rentalstenant rightsvacation rentals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Current unmarked residential streets are 50 km/h, but Greater Vancouver municipalities might consider dropping that to 30 km/h. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Sidney join Saanich in application to reduce residential road speeds to 30 km/h

Victoria also taking part in pilot to change default speed to 30 km/h from 50 km/h

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply as overdose emergency turns 5

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

A few dozen students and parents gathered outside Lansdowne Middle School April 14 to protest proposed budget cuts to SD61 music programs. From left to right: Lyra Gaudin, Cleo Bateman, Abby Farish, Brigitte Peters, Enid Gaudin, Des Farish. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
SD61’s proposed $7 million cuts threaten equity and inclusion, say parents, teachers

Music classes, inclusion services, reading programs on the line

The Latoria South section of the Royal Bay development in Colwood could include a new long-term care facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood’s Royal Bay could be home to new long-term care facilities

Capital Regional Hospital District board approves $8M land purchase for purpose

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth gets combative with police at Victoria hospital

VicPD officer injured, youth kept in care under Mental Health Act

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

One of the grand prizes for this year's Hometown Heroes Lottery includes a seaside home at SookePoint, $1.5 million, and an Audi Quattro. (Photo courtesy of Hometown Heroes)
Hometown Heroes Lottery features seaside home in Sooke

A stunning seaside home in Sooke could be yours for the price… Continue reading

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

Most Read