City of Kelowna defeats short-term rentals ‘for now’

Kelowna councillors to protect long-term rental market in close vote

The City of Kelowna won’t be seeing secondary suites and carriage houses available for short-term rentals any time soon after council defeated a motion to allow them in that type of housing Tuesday evening in a 4-3 vote.

After hearing from more than a dozen residents both in support and opposed to proposed amendments to the bylaw allowing short-term rental in principle residences in some parts of the city, Mayor Colin Basran, along with councillors Luke Stack, Gail Given and Mohini Singh, decided things are OK as is “for now,” he said.

Coun. Maxine DeHart, a local hotelier, recused herself from the meeting citing a conflict of interest while Coun. Ryan Donn was absent.

READ MORE: Kelowna Chamber of Commerce commends council on tough decision

In light of this decision, short-term regulations will remain the same as originally implemented in April, community planning supervisor Laura Bentley said, adding they will not be allowed in carriage houses or secondary suites.

“Tonight, I believe I had the decision to either perpetuate the status quo, which is to allow it to happen and to allow rent to continue to go up, to allow house prices to continue to rise and to have us find other ways to try to curb that,” Basran said.

“Or, we can continue to implement the strategies in our Healthy Housing Strategy, which is a combination of many different bylaws and ideas in order to actually help with affordability.”

A number of speakers in support of the amendment said short-term rentals, including Airbnb and VRBO, in secondary suites and carriage houses would allow homeowners to supplement their income, while giving individuals more control over who they can and can’t rent to.

But Basran and his colleagues who voted against the changes did so in order to protect the long-term rental market.

“I have a hard time getting away from this one line of our report,” Basran said.

“Secondary suites and carriage houses are an integral part of Kelowna’s secondary market. Allowing short-term rentals in these units is expected to remove units from the long-term rental market, putting added pressure on purpose-built rentals and other forms of rental housing.”

Councillors Brad Sieben, Loyal Wooldridge and Charlie Hodge voted in favour of short-term rentals, citing how it would provide housing for students, encourage affordable tourism and embrace technology.

A number of people who spoke to the issue during the lengthy public hearing said the Residential Tenancy Act and negative experiences with previous tenants deterred them from putting their suites and carriage houses on the long-term rental market.

READ MORE: Kelowna looks at $10,000 fines for short-term rental bylaw breaches

Basran underscored council is not saying “never” to short-term rentals in these types of units.

The bylaw will be up for review again in the fall of 2020, and council will reconsider its choices based on the vacancy rate at that time, the rental market and progress on developing the Healthy Housing Strategy.

“I want to be clear here that we’re not prohibiting short-term rentals,” he said.

“There are properties available in our community that still have the ability to offer (them) and so I just think, to me, we’re striking a balance for now with housing affordability and tourism opportunity.”

Community planning supervisor Laura Bentley said there are approximately 400 purpose-built rental projects currently under construction and more than 1,000 projects in the works — either in the approval process or awaiting building permits.

“I believe what we have in place is adequate for the time being,” the mayor added. “I don’t believe opening it up even further is going to help the situation.”

As it stands now, a homeowner or primary resident can rent their principal residence for periods of 29 days or less, Bentley said.

“Select tourist areas will continue to allow short-term rentals outside of an operator’s principal residence,” she said.

Anyone interested in operating a short-term rental must apply for and be issued a short-term rental business licence by July 1.


Caitlin Clow
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
One case of COVID-19 identified at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health will follow up directly with those who may have been exposed to the virus

Kelowna West MLA elect Ben Stewart addresses a small gathering of campaign supporters at the West Kelowna Yacht Club, shortly after hearing of his riding victory on Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo - Phil McLachlan)
Despite NDP majority, Kelowna remains Liberal stronghold

As several ridings in the Lower Mainland fell to the BC NDP, the BC Liberals retained three Kelowna seats

McCleave is eight years old.
AlleyCats pet of the week

Meet McCleave and Nyx

Renee Merrifield speaking to media on her front doorstep after winning the Kelowna-Mission riding for the BC Liberal Party. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Renee Merrifield retains BC Liberal Party’s seat in Kelowna-Mission

Renee Merrifield will take over former BC Liberal Steve Thomson’s seat, which he held for the past 11 years

(Norm Letnick)
BC Liberals’ Norm Letnick keeps Kelowna-Lake Country seat

Letnick acknowledged there could still be changes when mail-in ballots are counted

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

BC NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu offered praise to her team of volunteers (pictured Oct. 21), following a too-close race with BC Liberal and incumbent Eric Foster in the 2020 provincial election Oct. 24. The outcome will be dependent on the final count from mail-in ballots expected in three weeks. (Facebook)
‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu

Incumbent BC Liberal Eric Foster finishes election night with slim lead

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO)
UPDATE: One dead after Highway 97A crash near Armstrong, police watchdog investigating

The crash happened as RCMP attempted to stop an alleged stolen vehicle

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Most Read