Ahead of sweeping provincial restrictions for the short-term rental market, a popular BC tourist destination has approved its own rules.
On Monday, Kelowna City Council voted to approve short-term rental restrictions above and beyond what the province will bring in as of May 1.
According to minutes from Monday’s council meeting, while some current short-term rental licences will be grandfathered moving forward, future applications will be restricted.
Monday’s decision declared that short-term rentals will not be allowed to operate as a principal or secondary land use.
“Secondary use short-term rental business licences are no longer being accepted. Further changes to short-term rentals will come into effect, based on new provincial legislation, on May 1, 2024,” said a statement from the City.
Kelowna is a popular BC tourist destination and a popular spot for folks from Alberta. The city has often appeared on lists as a trending destination on platforms like Airbnb.
The new restrictions mean that tourists will have fewer places to find accommodation, likely battling others for precious hotel suites.
Housing supply and the cost of living seemed to be primary factors in the decision.
“Affordability and access to appropriate housing is top of mind for Kelowna residents, and all levels of government need to take bold action and work together to address the challenges we’re collectively facing,” said Ryan Smith, Divisional Director of Planning, Climate Action and Development Services.
“These changes are being recommended to address challenges being experienced in the community and to turn more units into long-term homes for people.”
Kelowna council hasn’t ruled out exemptions in the future.
“Council also directed staff to follow up at a future meeting with a report outlining specific properties that may be eligible for a potential request to the provincial government for exemption status from the principal residence requirement.”
The BC short-term rental restrictions kick in on May 1.