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UBCM Seeking Regulation For Short-Term Accommodation

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The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) has requested to create regulations for the short-term accommodations industry. The framework is foreseen to be similar to those of ride-hailing and other regulated industries.

According to the Joint UBCM-Province Advisory Group’s report, the emergence of online booking platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO has caused a change in the types of accommodation being advertised for short-term use. The shift has affected BC communities in terms of housing affordability, housing availability, land use, as well as noise and safety concerns, among others. 

However, the report also listed some advantages to tourism, economic activity, and interim worker housing.

As per BC’s recommendation, a Joint UBCM-Province Advisory Group conducted an analysis and asked local governments to make recommendations for the province to consider.

The local governments’ call for action involves introducing a provincial regulatory framework for accountability and information validation for online accommodation platforms and short-term rental hosts. They also requested to require all these platforms to provide available data through a provincial interface where local governments can pull information on property listings, hosts, bookings, and complaints in their community.

In addition are: requiring the online platforms to publish business license or permit information, making tax collection of PST and the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) at the point of booking a requirement, and investigating changes to the MRDT to increase consistency across the province and expand the use of that tax revenue to offset impacts to housing and neighborhoods.

In 2018, BC’s Rental Housing Task Force recommended that the province collaborate with local governments to develop and enforce short-term rental regulations. As a result, a Joint Advisory Group on Short-Term Rentals was formed a year later.

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