The City of Victoria will starting giving fees to short term rental owners who have not applied for a proper business license (AirBNB)

City of Victoria to start charging illegal short-term rental operators

Anyone without a proper business license could face $500 per day in fines

Vacation home landlords will soon face steep fines if they’ve skirted legal business requirements.

Owners renting out their homes for short-term rentals through apps like AirBNB and VRBO have faced regulations and taxes from the City since spring 2018. The City began with an education process, encouraging owners to sign up for one of two different business licences, but will soon move to enforcement.

Starting December 2018, the City partnered with Host Compliance, a company that will monitor the web for listings to identify properties running illegally. An early search estimates 1,288 properties are listed online, of which only half have proper licences.

“We are trying to get voluntary compliance,” said Barrie Cockle, leader of bylaw services. “We are having good success with that, and we’ll see in the next month or so if that drops or continues, and at that point we’ll use our third party, Host Compliance, to see who is operating and send some letters.”

READ MORE: B.C. cities want mandated business licences for short-term rentals

Cockle said that at the end of December more than 300 warning letters were sent out to unregistered owners, and that there’s been a positive response.

More than 150 businesses discontinued, while 20 people are applying in person per week. Since Jan. 1, 287 applications (new and renewals) have been processed online, with may more pending.

Owners are eligible for one of two types of licences; the first is a principal operator license for owners who live on property. This costs $150 per year, and so far 259 have been issued.

ALSO READ: Esquimalt council to discuss short-term rentals

The second type is for non-principal operators, for those who do not live on property, and cost $1,500 per year. So far 365 of these licences have been issued.

For any stragglers, however, hefty fines can be issued.

“The fee for operating a business without a licence is $500,” Cockle said. “But those fees could be applied every day the site is still active.”

Similar actions have been taken in Vancouver, and in the most extreme cases owners were taken to court for injunction when they didn’t comply with municipal bylaws.

Cockle said that even if hosts have blocked off their availability on sites, the City will still have to treat it as a potential business, so he recommended inactive advertisements be removed altogether.

For more information on short-term rental licensing, head to victoria.ca/str

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Victoria HarbourCats give away funeral to lucky fan

Just in case you die of excitment, all the bases are covered

Tofino Canada’s hot spot

This morning’s temperatures nation’s highest, Tuesday reached 23.5 C

Verdict gives murder victims’ parents sense of closure

A guilty verdict delivered earlier this week was “like a weight lifted off the chest.”

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Victoria meme accounts unite residents

Poking fun at common frustrations around Greater Victoria brings laughs

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Most Read