It is the dawn of a new day for short-term rentals in the city of Vancouver as new rules go into effect on Saturday.
According to a statement from the city, “all short-term rental operators must have a valid business licence and include it in all online listings and advertisements.”
The policy was first introduced in April and hosts had until Aug. 31 to obtain a licence.
The statement went on to say that “anyone who advertises a short-term rental without a business licence will be subject to fines of up to $1,000, prosecution, or other enforcement actions.”
But there are questions about whether the Sept. 1 deadline is being respected.
Jens von Bergmann, who has analyzed data scraped from the Airbnb website, isn’t convinced.
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“The change that I see is that listings that don’t have a licence seem to have flipped over, almost all of them, to a minimum stay of 30 days in the calendar setting, which means that people can only book through the website a minimum stay of 30 days. This seemed to have happened overnight.”
In a Saturday blog post, Airbnb’s director of public policy Alex Dagg said there were 4,798 active Vancouver listings on their platform — more than 30 per cent of which are exempt from the licensing agreement.
Dagg said 2,482 postings have already been taken down and “almost 70 per cent of those bookings had not been booked in the 12 months prior to the licensing implementation.”
The city says 88 per cent of short-term rentals in Vancouver are listed on Airbnb and it is the only platform where there is a memorandum of understanding in place with the municipal government.
“I think it’ll take some time for everything to settle,” von Bergmann said.
“There definitely will be enforcement, there will be tears. It will be a journey and will be something to be monitored.”