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Vernon looks for regulations after Airbnb 'party house' fined $15K

Image Credit: PIXABAY

The City of Vernon has banned a property owner from renting their "party house" as a short-term rental and come to an out-of-court settlement for $15,000.

According to the City of Vernon, the property on Sun Peaks Drive had received more than 50 violation tickets between 2019 and 2021 for multiple noise complaints and unlawful land use.

The City describes the property as a "party house" and said that despite multiple warnings the owners of the property continued to rent the house to guests to hold large and loud gatherings which had been disruptive to the neighbours.

It took legal action in July 2021 seeking an injunction to block the owners from renting the property as a short-term rental.

On June 10, the owners agreed to a consent order and agreed not to let the property as a short-term rental and pay $15,000 in damages.

In an effort to curb repeat violations such as this, the City is looking to regulate short-term vacation rentals.

According to a staff report, the city has 274 short-term rentals listed on Airbnb and VRBO, although admits there are likely many more.

The report states that the increase in short-term rentals is having a detrimental impact on the city's low vacancy rate now at 0.7 per cent.

Currently, the new proposals suggest allowing property owners to apply for two separate types of short-term rental business licence.

A minor license would be allowed anywhere in the city and would allow a person to rent a portion of their principal residence and require that someone must reside at the property to manage the rental.

A major license would only be available in two areas of the city, largely around Okanagan Lake and an area of the BX, and would allow the entire property to be rented that doesn't need to be part of a principal residence. A manager wouldn't have to live on-site but would need to be available 24/7.

Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming pointed out at council's June 27 meeting, that the proposal didn't take into account a process for dealing with complaints.

The Mayor said the Sun Peaks property has taken almost two years to deal with and a quicker process was needed.

The city's short-term rental regulation proposal is scheduled to go for public consultation in September.

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