Thousands of short-term rentals in B.C. go back to long-term May 1: B.C. government

LANGLEY, B.C. — British Columbia Premier David Eby says his government is tilting the rules towards families who need a home, and speculators should invest in that instead of short-term rentals and houses to flip.

Eby made his comments today in advance of the rule changes on May 1 that limit short-term rental units to within the principal home of a host.

The government says figures gathered in March show more than 19,000 entire homes are listed as short-term rentals, something the new regulations aim to change.

Eby says if investors are building homes that people need, his government will do all it can to get that done as quickly as possible, but their real estate investments can't be competing with people looking for a place to live.

The new short-term rental rules will apply to more than 60 B.C. communities, and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says a compliance enforcement unit will be phased in to help municipalities deal with rule violations.

Kahlon says they expect a significant number of the 19,000 homes listed on the short-term market to go back to permanent rental housing.

The new rules also require short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb to share data with the province, and local governments can request that a platform remove listings that don’t display a valid business licence.

Eby says the changes will allow both the province and local governments to crack down on speculators who are effectively operating mini hotels.

"If you are standing neck and neck with a family that's looking for a place to live, and you're trying to do a speculative investment, (while) they're looking for a place to live, we are going to tilt the deck every single time towards that family," Eby says. "And we're gonna keep doing it."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press