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Premier visits Langley as short-term rental ban about to come into force

David Eby, housing minister Ravi Kahlon speak about AirBnB crackdown
B.C. Premier David Eby and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon were in Langley on Thursday, April 18 to talk about the stricter short-term rental rules coming into effect on May 1. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s premier and housing minister were in Langley on Thursday as the date when strict new regulations for short-term rentals take effect.

David Eby and Ravi Kahlon spoke in Langley City’s Douglas Park about how the rules, which kick in on May 1, will restrict short-term vacation rentals to primary residences only.

The new rules, announced last fall, are expected to effectively ban short term rentals in any building that is used exclusively for such activity.

It will remain legal for British Columbians to rent out their own home while they’re away, or to have short-term tenants in a spare bedroom, basement suite, or coach house.

But short-term rental platforms like AirBnB and VRBO have led to some people buying up whole homes, especially condo units, and renting them out continuously like hotel rooms. This can be far more lucrative for owners than renting them to long-term tenants.

The new rules mandate data sharing from the online companies, and give local governments more tools to find non-complying units.

The goal of the crackdown is to return more condos and homes to the long-term rental market.

“As we’ve already seen, these new rules are turning short-term rentals back into homes for people who live and work in our communities,” Eby said.

Kahlon said the total number of units used only for short term rentals was difficult to determine, but it is believed there are around 19,000 in B.C.

“We’ve seen many numbers,” Kahlon said.

He noted that if even half of those are put back into the rental market or sold to new owners who want to live there, that would be a substantial amount of housing coming onto the B.C. market.

Kahlon said he’s already hearing from people who have found rental accommodation in former short-term suites.

“It’s already having an impact,” Kahlon said.

Eby called the legislation “balanced.”

The measure is one of numerous reforms introduced last year to tackle the high cost of housing that has reached crisis levels.

Asked about more supportive housing or other measures for Langley, Eby said that even measures like the short-term rental reforms can indirectly help with the homelessness situation by increasing the amount of rental housing overall. More rental housing prevents people who are in the most dire need from being squeezed out of the market, he said.

Kahlon noted that three affordable housing projects are under construction in Langley.

About more supportive housing, which gets homeless people into stable housing with on-site staff supports, “it’s a conversation we are having with local governments,” Kahlon said.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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