Public Outcry Prompts Ban on Short-Term Rentals

by Chris on January 30, 2017

Continuing complaints from local residents this month prompted Richmond, B.C. City Council to ban such rentals, that after having vowed to regulate the practice only a week earlier.

The action comes as major cities, including Vancouver and Toronto, are looking into ways to deal with the affects short-term sublets are having on rental housing markets.

Disgruntled residents in Richmond argued that regulation of individual properties would not be enough to quell complaints. “This type of use is undesirable in any neighbourhood,” one resident pointed out.

The most common complaints raised by the many residents who came forward to plead with City Council include an increase in rowdy, unsupervised parties that disturb quiet enjoyment, as well as an increase in trash and parking congestion.

Additionally, most speakers emphasized the fear of rising rents as homes become unavailable to long-term residents. One resident expressed concern that short-term rental units could be exploited for birth tourism.

In response, Richmond lawmakers acknowledged that more staff would be needed to resolve complaints. As a result, the council redirected its efforts from regulation to a prohibition on short-term rentals within the city.

Toronto and Vancouver have yet to announce regulatory schemes to deal with short-term rentals, which many believe only exacerbate the lack of affordability. Complaints in those cities are similar, and local news agencies have profiled a few catastrophic cases where police were called, tenants arrested, or the properties were seriously damaged by unsupervised short-term vacation renters.

Landlords stand to lose when it comes to short-term rentals, especially if tenants are advertising on sites like Airbnb without the landlord’s knowledge. New York City recently passed legislation that forces landlords to crack down on tenants who rent out their entire apartment short-term. Other strategies include requiring the host to register the property, and paying a hotel tax.

As the situation in Richmond proves, neighbouring property owners and other tenants are not content to have strangers living next door or causing disruption. Landlords who choose to allow the practice may want to keep that in mind and look at ways of mitigating these risks, like a requirement that tenants be on hand to supervise guests.

Landlords who wish to prohibit short-term vacation rentals should consider having their tenancy agreements updated. While existing provisions, such as a restriction on non-residential use, may be sufficient to evict a tenant who is subletting short-term, that provision may do little to deter tenants from trying it out. Continued use of the property as a short-term rental is likely to lead to property damage, and income loss.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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