Big night ahead for people going to Kelowna’s public hearing on short term rental bylaws

If you’re renting out a suite and you’re not licensed, you may face upwards of $10,000 a day in fines.

It could be a long night for anyone interested in the results of the City of Kelowna’s public hearing on short term rentals.

Stephen Fleming, city clerk, said they’ve received around 100 pieces of correspondence, with 60 per cent in opposition and 40 in favour of what’s been proposed.

“As to how many people show up, we don’t know until the doors open,” he said. “With this number of correspondence and because it’s a topic that’s generated a lot of community discussion, I would anticipate there would be a good city discussion.”

Council chambers has a capacity of 170, though for hot button issues it’s not uncommon to see people standing in the hallways, awaiting a moment to comment. It looked like it had reached that capacity as the hearing got underway.

The new regulations, if adopted, would require short term rental operators to get a business license. It would also apply guidelines for parking, number of guests and noise, among other things

READ MORE: SHORT TERM RENTAL REGULATIONS TAKE SHAPE

The business licence fee proposed is $345 for a principal residents, and $750 for non principal.

Regulations will allow licensed property owners to rent out a room in their principal residence as long as they live in that home at least eight months of the year.

Short-term rentals wouldn’t be permitted in investment properties, secondary suites or carriage houses, with a few exemptions.

Condo developments that have already been approved for short-term rentals will be grandfathered in, but limitations will apply going forward.

Late last year, Airbnb produced a report about wine regions indicating that 125,900 Airbnb guests arrive to the area a year to enjoy “wineries that range from small family-owned operations to large world- class facilities.”

The average Airbnb host charges $141 US a night, amounting to an average yearly income of $4,300 US. The total number of dollars earned in the Okanagan through Airbnb hosting is $16,700,000 US.

The average length of stay in the valley is 2.69 days and the average Airbnb renter hosts for 30 days a year.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed regulations at a public hearing on Tuesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. in council chambers. Written feedback may be submitted by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 11, either by email to cityclerk@kelowna.ca or by letter to the Office of the City Clerk, 1435 Water Street, Kelowna, BC V1Y 1J4.

For more information about the proposed short-term rental regulations and the Healthy Housing Strategy, visit kelowna.ca/planningprojects.

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