Listing for a whole suite in Fairfield on AirBnB as of Friday morning. (Screenshot)

EDITORIAL: Legal battle looming over vacation rentals

Owners of properties used for short-term rentals (STR), as well as companies that manage those properties, are getting ready to fight the City of Victoria’s proposed regulations. It’s a battle the City likely saw coming.

We’re not surprised that some residents, fighting for the right to earn additional income on revenue properties, are up in arms at the City choosing to regulate the industry.

We’ve heard from owners, including those operating legal STRs, that they want the City to use hard data to prove the industry is having a detrimental effect on the residential rental market, and to make sure regulations are fair.

Regulating this industry is still a relatively new science, and although there are lessons to learn from Vancouver, Whistler and cities south of the border, we should know what is happening here before making drastic changes.

Which is why we’re happy the City is contracting an independent company to collect data on Victoria’s vacation rental industry.

Those details are not known, but the issues facing Victoria are common in North America. Governments are struggling to balance peoples’ property rights with the impact on neighbours, in terms of affordability and quality of life. For tourist destinations like Victoria, these issues can be even more pronounced.

Owners of these properties may find the business licence fees too high, or regulations too tight to continue business, but they are still left with reasonable options.

Victoria isn’t going to lose its tourism-appeal overnight. If property owners find the situation untenable, they can always go back to renting to long-term tenants, and with such a low vacancy rate, they’re sure to find tenants lining up.

Buyers, too, will be quick to snatch up the homes and condos whose owners can’t or won’t continue in the short-term rental business. That’s what the City’s initial goal was, anyway, to open up the housing market, and that could be the result.

However, we’re glad the City is taking a closer look at the situation so councillors can make an informed decision.

Just Posted

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Sidney

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

WATCH: Original rendition of A Christmas Carol takes over Dave Dunnet Community Theatre

Complete with a brass ensemble and Celtic band, only two shows will be open to the public

Victoria mother concerned by city’s potential straw ban

Carmell Nesbitt’s son has cerebral palsy and can only drink with plastic straws

Sailors reunited with family for Christmas in Victoria

HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Edmonton return following a two-month deployment

Victoria breakfast icon is shutting its doors

Floyd’s Diner is closing its Quadra and Yates streets location

Victoria Canadian Tire replaces toys stolen from Salvation Army

Children won’t have to go without toys this Christmas

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Vancouver Island

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

Descoteau’s mother, girlfriend reflect on tribulations of murder trial in Island city

Friends a strong support system in getting through testimony details

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

New biker gang with ties to Hells Angels crops up in Lower Mainland

The Street Reapers were formed late last year and have been seen in Fort Langley.

10-lane George Massey bridge too big, B.C. study says

Consultants say replacement tunnel cost similar to new bridge

Most Read