Rogue Airbnb hosts that break strata rules to face fines of up to $1,000 per day

A "No Airbnb" sign displayed in an apartment complex in Vancouver. Paula Baker, Global News

B.C. condo owners who break the rules by allowing short-term rentals through sites like Airbnb could soon be slapped with fines of up to $1,000 per day by their strata corporations.

Currently, stratas can pass bylaws banning short-term rentals, with a maximum fine of $200 per week.

READ MORE: Break-ins at Vancouver condo tower blamed on short-term rentals

The province says the new rules are meant to free up long-term rental stock in housing markets, many of which are facing rental vacancy rates at or below one per cent.

It says short-term rentals can also mean unwanted noise, damage and security issues in strata complexes.

“With $200 dollars a week, it wasn’t a disincentive,” said Housing Minister Selina Robinson.

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READ MORE: City of Vancouver investigating more than 1,500 illegal short-term listings

“But at $1,000 it will make a significant difference in terms of eating into whatever profits people are making.”

WATCH: Strata threatens to report short-term renters as trespassers

Click to play video: 'Strata threatens to report short-term renters as trespassers' Strata threatens to report short-term renters as trespassers
Strata threatens to report short-term renters as trespassers – Oct 25, 2017

Robinson added that services like Airbnb are meant to serve as an option for homeowners who want to rent out a room or their unit while they are away on vacation.

But she said landlords are now trying to cash in by turning their property into for-profit businesses.

“We’re seeing investors are taking an entire suite, an entire apartment and operating it like a hotel,” she said.

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Strata lawyer Grant Haddock called the new fines substantial, but necessary.

“Airbnb is taking up a lot of units that could otherwise be used for ordinary rental,” he said.

He described the move as a step in the right direction towards addressing the region’s housing crisis.

The BC government says starting November 30th, a strata can fine a host of a short-term rental a thousand dollars a day, a big jump from the original 200 a week.

New fines kick in November 30, and are not automatically applied.

READ MORE: Vancouver approves new regulations for short-term rentals like Airbnb

Strata corporations still need to decide whether or not to restrict short-term rentals, and would have to amend their own bylaws to raise the fines to the new maximum.

The non-profit Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia says it supports the move, which it says it will help define commercial use as different from a rental.

More than 1.5 million British Columbians live in stratas throughout the province, according to the ministry.

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