The City of Kelowna’s new rules for short-term accommodation rentals will kick in April 23. (Airbnb)

Kelowna finally ready to allow short-term rentals

New rules allowing short-term accommodation services such as Airbnb will kick in April 23

The City of Kelowna’s new rules for short-term rental accommodation will kick in April 23.

The rules, adopted by city council Monday, will allow eligible property owners to start applying for the long-awaited required business licences.

Under the new rules, a homeowner or primary resident can legally rent their principal residence for up to 29 days at a time. Select tourist areas will continue to allow short-term rentals in properties that are not the owner’s principal residence.

READ MORE: Kelowna council moves ahead with regulations for short-term rentals, with a caveat

Council will consider a separate bylaw regulating short-term rentals in secondary suites and carriage houses later this spring.

“Those wishing to rent their home on a short-term basis are encouraged to obtain a business licence by July 1,” said Greg Wise, business licence manager with the city. “After this two-month window, operators found to be listing a property without a business licence, or in violation of associated regulations, will be expected to comply.”

According to the city, short-term rental accommodation numbers have significantly increased in the city over the past several years. Between 2017 to 2018 alone, the number of unique short-term rental listings in Kelowna increased 69 per cent, from 1,172 to 1,979.

“A short-term rental accommodation is essentially a home business that operates similar to a hotel or a bed and breakfast – both of which follow their own set of regulations,” said Wise. “Applying similar rules to short-term rental operators supports consistency within Kelowna’s accommodation industry.”

The regulations were developed after the city gathered public and stakeholder input. A public survey in 2017 received more than 2,600 responses providing initial input. Last year, the city invited several stakeholders—including the tourism and accommodation industry, business and neighbourhood associations, the development industry, short-term rental platforms, its Healthy Housing Advisory committee and interested residents—to review and comment on the proposed regulations.

Wise said the new regulations reflect the diverse community needs and interests with the aim of protecting long-term rentals, limiting the impact on neighbourhoods and ensuring equity among all accommodation providers.

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