Letter: Take control of your Kelowna home at short-term rental hearing

To the editor:

Beware! City council has decided to take control of your home!

On March 12, there was a public hearing to voice your thoughts on the proposed bylaw to limit your control on the guests that can stay in your home.

As a homeowner or potential and future homeowner, we have rights and a voice.

As landowners, we already pay the city numerous taxes and fees. Council is trying to force us to do long-term rentals in our secondary suites and carriage houses or give them up.

By forcing their will on you, they believe this will allow for more long-term rentals and cure homelessness.

Hotel rooms in the high season are sold out or prices are astronomical. It’s the hotel industry who is scared and intimidated by short-term rentals. Tourism itself will continue to thrive in Kelowna but our guests need options.

This council has also proposed to hire a third-party policing agency to hunt down and track rentals at a cost of $300,000 a year and likely to increase as time goes on.

READ MORE: Kelowna council approves first step to short-term rental regulations

Because the NDP government stripped landowners of their ability to remove bad tenants, there is an underwhelming desire to rent long-term. The NDP has also demeaned long-term lease agreements to the point where they are basically useless; a contradiction to what they promote.

This defeats the desire to do long term-rentals. The NDP, in hand with our local council, is making it so that there is no incentive to rent at all. As well, the legalization of marijuana opens the door for long-term tenants to grow in your home and outdoor space.

Our council disguises this bylaw as a solution to more long-term rentals and spins it as though it will reduce homelessness and reduce rental fees. This won’t happen, rent will continue to increase.

Most of these short-term rentals will likely stay vacant or will rent to specific people instead. Through the new police force, illegal suites will be forced to comply.

This will cost you, the homeowner, $20,000 or more to legalize your suite and you will be ruled by this new bylaw. You will have to evict your tenant.

READ MORE: Kelowna short-term rental loophole raises concerns

But because of the new NDP tenant laws, you will have to offer this suite back to them when completed at the same rental amount as when they rented from you as an illegal suite.

After spending thousands of dollars and months of lost income to upgrade and become compliant, the NDP and our local council won’t allow you to appreciate and enjoy an increase in rent to recoup your investment.

Your previous tenant gets to enjoy this brand new legal suite at their previous price and the city pads its pockets with your hard earned dollars.

Council is taking your choice away from you! Don’t miss the public meeting Tuesday, March 12, 6 p.m. at City Hall. Please show up to voice your disdain for their personal attack on property owners in Kelowna and their self-serving bylaw to help the hotel industry. If you have a secondary suite, carriage house or think you may in the future, come out to this meeting. If you are in university, soon to be graduating from a trade or plan to own a home you should be out to help stop this one-sided bylaw as you will eventually be a homeowner having to deal with this. You may not be there yet, but, if this goes through you will not have the choice and opportunity to do this in the future.

Further, if you are a homeowner with an illegal suite, you and your tenant should be concerned, as you and your tenant will be displaced when forced to make it a legal secondary suite. Tenants may possibly never return if the owner chooses to make it part of their residence instead of a secondary suite.

This bylaw is myopic, self-serving and does nothing to encourage long-term rentals and fix homelessness in our wonderful city.

Nick Aubin

Kelowna

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