EDITORIAL: Regulations needed around short-term vacation rentals

Short-term rentals have become popular over the past few years

The rise of short-term rental units in recent years has provided vacationers with travel accommodation options in addition to hotels, motels and bed and breakfast facilities. But these vacation rentals also have the potential to affect the neighbourhoods and communities where they are located.

As a result, numerous councils and local governments are considering policies and regulations for short-term rental units. The decisions made around short-term rental units can have significant repercussions.

Short-term rental units bring an economic benefit to their communities.

The vacationers who book a stay at one of these units will shop in stores in the area and dine at local restaurants. In addition, the owners of short-term rental property will see revenue from their investment. The money they earn from running a short-term rental will go back into the community, again bolstering the economy. This financial benefit must be considered.

However, some vacationers can be noisy and disruptive, especially when a lot of people are renting a place together. The noise can affect the quality of life for those who live nearby. The character of a neighbourhood is important, especially for those who are permanent residents.

While these factors are important, a much bigger consideration is the effect of short-term rentals on a community’s housing supply. If homes once used as residential dwellings become short-term rentals, this change can exacerbate the ongoing housing shortages in communities around the province.

The rise of short-term rentals is not the only factor contributing to housing issues and the lack of affordable housing in many communities, but it is a factor that must be considered. Without an adequate housing supply in a community, businesses will struggle to attract and retain workers.

The impact of a single short-term vacation rental in a community might not be all that noticeable, but when numerous rental units are opened up, the effects become significant.

Decisions around allowing these rental units are important and must not be made lightly.

— Black Press

READ MORE: B.C. housing sales slow amid ‘severely limited’ supply

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