Kelowna to consider allowing short-term rentals

City staff have been working on the contentious issue for more than a year

Kelowna city staff at look at developing guidelines that could dictate how short-term accommodation rentals are handled in the city in future. —Image: Capital News file

Despite rules that prohibit short-term accommodation rentals in the City of Kelowna, plenty of local property owners are flouting, say city staff.

According to staff report, as of last November, there were 1,178 listings for short-term rentals in Kelowna despite the fact they are not allowed in any areas zoned residential in the city.

“Municipalities across B.C., and globally, have been grappling with if, and how, to permit and regulate short-term rentals following the rise of various online vacation rental platforms over the last few years, such as Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, and others,” says the city’s planning department.

“These platforms offer different options for types of accommodations through hosts in private residences, including renting individual rooms, suites or entire homes.”

But the report says while short-term rentals provide a different option for tourists and an opportunity for additional income for homeowners, they can also present concerns about housing availability and affordability, neighbourhood character and nuisances, and create what it calls unfair competition to traditional accommodation providers.

Short-term rentals are considered to be for less than a month at a time and the city is currently working on how to allow them. For the last year, the city hall has been looking at the issue and during that time has talked to the public and business to gather feedback.

On Monday council approved a plan to establish guideline for short-term rental, including only allowing them in a property owners principal residence. They would not be allowed in secondary suites or carriage houses.

Last winter a survey was conducted by the city that drew 2,632 responses but was not considered to be a statistically significant sample of Kelowna residents opinions.

Just over 60 per cent of respondents said secondary suites and carriage houses should be allowed for use as short-term rentals, a majority also felt spare rooms in homes should be allowed for use. Half indicated entire residential units—single-detached and semi-detached homes, as well as multi-family buildings—should also be allowed.

On the other hand, nearly one in five respondents indicated they felt short-term rentals should not be allowed at all.

As for where they should be located, 81 per cent said in tourist areas, 79 per cent said commercial areas where there are stores and restaurants nearby and 74 per cent said in urban areas.

The key themes were affordability, allowing homeowners to decide how to use their property, tourism, regulations and noise concerns.

Kelowna has also looked at what is done elsewhere in B.C. when it comes to short-term rentals and found they are allowed in most zones in Vancouver and Victoria (only in operator’s primary residence), in Nelson and in limited locations in Tofino on Vancouver Island. All four areas require a business licence.

Because short-term rentals will impact the housing market, neighbourhoods and the accommodation industry, the city says it plans to develop the guiding principles to be used to draft policies and regulations to allow short-term rentals in Kelowna in the future.

But first it plans to hold extensive consultations across Kelowna.

Related: Lake Country council passes first step for short-term rentals

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna man arrested after allegedly setting blaze near Fire Department

The man was allegedly seen lighting bushes on fire near the Kelowna Fire Department

Kelowna mothers to share grief, spread awareness for Overdose Day

Moms Stop the Harm is hosting an event for International Overdose Awareness Day in Kerry Park

Latino-American rock ‘n’ roll band The Mavericks coming to Kelowna

Kelowna is the only B.C. stop on the band’s worldwide tour

UBC Okanagan Heat score 10 goals in pre-season double-header

Two exhibition wins in the U.S. to start the year for the mens Heat squad

Kelowna transit system to add new routes in September

The decision is due to increase in demand, according to BC Transit

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

Okanagan RCMP superintendent helps with arrest

Vernon Supt. Shawna Baher arrests man for theft; turns out to be suspect in assault and robbery

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read