Photo from Airbnb.com.

Luxury Airbnb faces regional district scorn

An Okangan property owner is accused of performing renovations, renting the chalet without proper permits

A luxury vacation property owner in Okanagan Falls is in hot water with Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

The RDOS has voted unanimously to place a notice on the title of the property in question, known as the Marron River Ranch & Vineyard and located at 320/328 Highway 3A, because the owner has had occupants in the single family dwelling despite a “Do Not Occupy” notice that was delivered due to unapproved renovations.

It has also been operating as a rental property on the website Airbnb while no vacation rental temporary use permit has been issued by the RDOS.

The RDOS found there are health and safety deficiencies with the building and/or the property owner is building without a permit — contravening a bylaw. The RDOS is entitled to put a notice on the title and seek compliance with the bylaw through injunctive action.

“This property has a restrictive covenant regarding use of the fourth floor and photos show that it was converted into living space without a building permit, posing a serious health and safety concern,” reads the RDOS’ background summary of the infraction.

As of Sept. 20, the listing for the chalet located on the property is still active on Airbnb’s website. The post says the 6,700 square foot residence is a “luxury estate” that can “accommodate up to 20 guests” and is the “perfect place for any special occasion or a truly unforgettable getaway.”

While the aforementioned renovations were noted on the property on July 23, no permit has been applied for or obtained by the property owner. According to bylaw enforcement, the “Do Not Occupy” notice was placed on the front gate of the property in compliance with the renovations to the single family dwelling. A letter was also sent to the registered owner advising the “Do Not Occupy” notice.

The owner of the property reached out to the RDOS on July 23, at which point the expectations were outlined in what needs to occur in order to bring the property to compliance. The property owner did not respond to the board’s entry request and has since ignored further attempts to resolve the issue.

Photos taken of the property on Aug. 21 show that the “Do Not Occupy” notice has been removed from the property’s front gate. A witness has also submitted a written statement saying the property is still being used by large groups of people.

On Aug. 23, the RDOS issued a final notice letter to the property owner regarding the bylaw infraction. The RDOS voted unanimously to issue a notice on the property title at the board meeting on Sept. 20., at which the property owner was not in attendance.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter

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