Thinking about renting your home short-term? Rules vary widely in Okanagan, Kamloops – iNFOnews

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West Kelowna is the latest of the Okanagan’s largest cities to respond to new provincial regulations on short-term rentals.

A report going to its city council today, Jan. 23, leaves the door open to the number of such units increasing in that city.

Last week, the City of Kelowna took a tougher stand than the province by essentially banning all new short-term rentals in the city.

It’s doing that by saying such suites will not be allowed as a secondary use in any zone within the city, other than those that are already in place. Those will be grandfathered but will disappear if the property is sold or a licence isn’t renewed.

READ MORE: Rowdy short-term rentals in Kelowna not going to disappear any time soon

West Kelowna on the other hand will continue to allow short-term rentals as a secondary use in single-family and duplex zones opening the door for more people to get licences.

The caveat for both cities – and all BC communities with more than 10,000 residents – is that the suite must be the principal residence of the person renting it out.

According to the West Kelowna report going to its council, provincial rules allow renters to operate the suites.

That is not being recommended in West Kelowna.

In both cases, the cities are applying to the province to exempt tourist commercial zones from the new rules, such as The Cove in West Kelowna and Aqua in Kelowna.

The cities of Kamloops and Vernon don’t have bylaws to license short-term rentals. The new provincial rules require each unit to be licensed, which means they will be illegal in those cities.

Penticton is taking a different approach. City council passed a motion last week to ask the province to exempt the entire city because of its “unique economy” as a tourism destination.

Places like Big White, Sun Peaks and Whistler are exempt as resort communities.

In order to qualify for a city-wide exemption, communities need a rental vacancy rate of 3% or more for two consecutive years. Penticton’s rental vacancy rate is 1.2%, according to the report that went to city council last week. Still, council argued, short-term rentals are essential to its tourism industry.

The Vernon Chamber of Commerce wrote to the province last week asking it to exempt tourist destinations within that city like Predator Ridge and Outback Lakeside Resort.

The new provincial rules come into effect on May 1.


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