Downtown, the West End and Kitsilano were the most popular neighborhoods in Vancouver last year for landlords and renters to list their residences for short-term rentals, according to a new report from the city.
A map included in the “2021 Short-Term Rental Highlights Report” shows the three neighborhoods accounted for 986 of 2,323 listings on Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms.
Downtown was by far the most popular, with 633 listings, according to the map, which captured all short-term rentals in effect as of Dec. 23, 2021 in 22 neighborhoods. South Cambie (24), Kerrisdale (31) and Killarney (35) had the fewest registrations.
The number of listings shows that the short-term rental market is starting to slowly recover in Vancouver. The pandemic has significantly disrupted the industry, dropping from nearly 6,000 short-term rentals in operation in January 2020 to 2,416 currently as of Monday.
“The world opens up again”
Claire Thompson, who oversees the city’s short-term rental program, said she and her staff continue to see signs the industry is recovering from the pandemic, with a few hundred additional business licenses issued since the last year at this time.
“We are still figuring out what this is going to look like in the future as [public health] restrictions are lifted and the world opens up again,” Thompson said.
“But whenever the restrictions change in terms of opening up the world and travelers being allowed to come [to Vancouver]we actually see a direct correlation with people looking to get involved with short-term rentals again.
The question of why thousands of operators pulled their residences off the market during the pandemic came with a predictable answer, as the city learned in a survey it conducted in 2020: public health concerns and restrictions coupled with a massive drop in tourism were reasons for the decline in enrollment.
A related study by researchers at McGill University estimated that around 330 short-term rentals in Vancouver returned to the long-term rental market in 2020.
Like Vancouver is great reported in March, researchers at McGill’s School of Urban Planning identified 823 short-term rentals linked to Airbnb and VRBO in Vancouver that stopped being used for short-term stays in the first year of the pandemic.
Researchers estimated that more than 40% of operators have returned their homes to the long-term rental market, which has always been the main focus of the city’s short-term rental regulations since it was implemented. work in 2018.
“We estimate that 40.7% have fully returned to the long-term market, 22% have been temporarily stuck on Airbnb and may return to [short-term rentals] in the future, and 37.3 percent were not rented on [long-term rental] platforms and remain active on Airbnb,” the researchers said.
Renters as short-term rental operators
The researchers’ study was completed in January 2021, so Thompson said it’s hard to speculate if more short-term rental operators have chosen in the 2021 calendar year to move. their homes to the long-term market.
“It was another year and a completely independent year compared to the first full year of the pandemic in 2020,” she said. “So I wouldn’t want to extrapolate the information directly to the next year because that would have different variables.”
The city’s report says landlords continue to make up the majority of short-term rental operators, with 74% versus 26% being renters, who must obtain permission from landlords, strata or both to legally list their residence .
Houses are the predominant dwelling (41%), followed by condos (36%), a suite in a house (9%), a duplex (7%), a house on an alley (4%) and a townhouse (three percent).
Koji Miyaji, the city’s deputy chief licensing inspector, said the most common types of accommodations people try to pass off as legal under regulations are illegal second suites and unoccupied residences.
“But I have to say the most glaring ones are the non-residential units,” Miyaji said. “So we advertised shelters, advertised tents, advertised motorhome. So those tend to stick in our memory as creative approaches.
Last year, the city suspended 212 licenses for noncompliance and 21 listings were referred for prosecution. The city opened 908 “investigation files” on operators, launched 209 audits and inspected 151 registrations.
Complaints about short-term rentals totaled 337, with concerns about noise and litter dominating among residents. Customer-occupied parking was also an issue in some of the complaints.
The city began regulating short-term rentals in April 2018.
Under the regulations, a person who provides temporary accommodation in a housing unit other than a bed and breakfast or hotel is considered a short-term rental operator and is required to obtain an operating permit; it’s $104 this year.
Accommodation must be provided in the operator’s principal residence. The regulations state that an operator can rent out their entire house, or a room in that house, for less than 30 consecutive days.
“Robust Execution Process”
Recent cases before a business license review panel made up of three city councilors have highlighted some of the work the city has done to enforce the regulations, including suspending homeowners’ licenses.
“We have a pretty robust application process,” Miyaji said.
The city’s website says 900 business licenses have been suspended since the regulations were implemented in 2018. In addition, more than 1,400 warning letters and 1,630 tickets have been issued and 178 registrations have been filed. subject of prosecution.
Vancouver does not have jurisdiction over UBC wards and endowment lands, which also have active listings.
Airbnb is the largest of several platforms offering short-term rentals in Vancouver and accounts for at least 82% of all active listings, according to the city. The second largest platform is Expedia (including VRBO), followed by Flipkey, which is owned by TripAdvisor.