The city of Penticton is looking at further regulation of short-term rentals to ensure property owners are in compliance. The latest report from city staff states there are 499 rentals at various sites.
Although the report shows a rising number of licensed short-term rentals, there are still over 175 unlicensed properties.
“That means we have about a 68% compliance rate when you compare the ones that are licensed to the ones that are unlicensed, which fluctuates daily,” said Blake Leven, City of Penticton director of development services.
The report also outlined the benefit of having a short-term rental program in the city.
“Tourism is so important whether it’s wine tourism or recreational tourism and we just don’t have enough tourist offerings that are traditional hotels and motels,” said Laven.
Shane and Rhonda Doyon have operated an Airbnb property for seven years and say it has been quite successful.
“We love meeting the people,” said Rhonda.
“We even had a gentleman teaching a karate class in the backyard today. We’ve had birthday parties, we’ve had anniversaries – So, we enjoy the people and getting to know them.”
Short-term rentals also benefit Okanagan College as the campus doesn’t have student housing.
“The format that we use is we rent to students during the school year and then we Airbnb during the summer,” said Rhonda.
“Last year we didn’t even advertise and students had contacted us through the College and one of the parents said that he had been trying for nine months, had sent out 62 emails, and only heard back from maybe three people.”
Meanwhile, long-term rentals are hard to come by and Airbnb-like rentals are often criticized by those looking to settle down.
“A lot of people that operate short-term rentals aren’t interested in doing long-term rentals or managing long-term tenancies. So, it’s not an exact correlation that we have 500 short-term rentals licensed if we stopped licensing them, they would just become a long-term rental. It’s a lot more nuanced than that, said Laven.
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Shane says the pair also operates a long-term rental property but prefers the short-term model.
“I’ve had to repaint, and I’ve had people leave with one day’s notice. There was one summer where I had to fly back four or five times to clean it. With the short time I’ve never had any issue.”
The city says they will continue to monitor the short-term rental program and are working on a long-term licensing initiative to ensure adequate rental stock in the community.