Kelowna looks at big fines for people who contravene 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.

Breaking one of the City of Kelowna’s proposed short term rental bylaws could be pricey.

City council will be looking at licensing fees and fines for bylaws related to short term rentals Monday and it seems that those who are going to get into the short term accomodation business should mind their Ps and Qs.

At the end of a document laying out terminology and expectations, the proposed cost of contravening the regulations is mentioned.

“Every person who commits an offence against this bylaw shall be liable upon summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 for every instance that an offence occurs or each day that it continues,” reads the document.

Each day that a violation is of this bylaw is caused or allowed to continue constitutes a separate offence

Among other things, that means if you’re renting out a suite and you’re not licensed, you’re facing upwards of $10,000 a day in fines. No minimum fine is mentioned.

READ MORE: SHORT TERM RENTAL REGULATIONS TAKE SHAPE

Council will also be looking at the fee structure for those who are offering up short term rentals.

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

The city gave preliminary approval to short term rental bylaws last Monday.

Regulations, which will go to public hearing March 12, 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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