The B.C. government’s new rules limiting short-term rentals are facing growing opposition, with people across many sectors warning of unintended consequences.
The new rules have sent vacation and event plans up in the air along with reports that there are concerns about accommodation for workers in construction, film and other industries.
Companies such as Airbnb and VRBO have until next May to comply with the new rules but if someone has booked a short-term rental for next summer, they need to make sure they will still be able to stay there.
“If you have an event it is important to ask your host if they are compliant, because if the host is not compliant the host needs to cancel the event,” B.C.’s Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said.
Under the new rules, when passed, British Columbians will legally only be able to rent out a primary residence and one more additional secondary suite as a short-term rental.
But the legislation does not provide a blanket ban on these rentals and smaller municipalities are not included.
In Victoria, Air Lobby provides services to short-term rental guests in the same way a concierge at a hotel does.
The company has more than 20 employees but under the new legislation, they will have to close.
“Closing the doors in this way, whoa, it’s a really hard hit,” Ryan Sawatzky, co-founder of the company told Global News.
The B.C. government’s action has the film industry concerned as well, as the industry relies heavily on short-term rentals for cast and crew and is worried about the reduction of available places to stay.
“If it weren’t for Airbnb and short-term rentals, we will be forced out of the province. B.C. film would definitely suffer,” movie producer Antonio Cupo said.
“We tried to book hotels first, and there was no way to book our cast and our crew at hotels. It became the only option to do Airbnb.”
The province said it is committing to support building more hotels but those won’t be available for years.