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Some Kelowna landlords using loophole to get around illegal short-term rentals

Technically, it’s illegal to rent out your primary residence on a short-term basis, but judging by sites like Airbnb, several Kelowna homeowners are ignoring the rules.

There are literally hundreds of homes, condos and apartments available for short-term rent.

Some say short-term rentals are the reason why Kelowna’s vacancy rate is the lowest in the country, at 0.2 per cent.

Laura Starck and her boyfriend Ian Grannary used to rent an apartment in downtown Kelowna but had to move because the owner wanted to rent on Airbnb.

“The condo didn’t want us in the summer, they didn’t want us in the summer so we got kicked out,” Starck said.

And even though short-term rentals are illegal, some landlords where stratas are involved have found a loophole in the B.C. Tenancy Act.

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“We found out that Airbnb and other short-term rentals aren’t the same thing,” Greg Bickert, of Inspire Property Management, said.

“The owners who are renting out using services like Airbnb are licensing their homes out to individuals. It’s not a rental. It’s like a hotel. You’re not a tenant in a hotel. You have a licence to just use that space.”

Although illegal, the City of Kelowna wants to test the waters before taking action against short-term rentals. It’s currently conducting a survey to find out what residents think.

The deadline for submissions to the city is Dec. 3.

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