City council looking to expand short-term rental regulations in Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City council looking to expand short-term rental regulations in Kelowna

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May 06, 2019 - 3:04 PM

KELOWNA - Kelowna council has proved it's listening to taxpayers on the Airbnb issue and is sending new rules governing short-term rentals to another pubic hearing with some changes.

City council gave unanimous approval today, May 6, to go to the public again as it considers a possible expansion of the new vacation rental rules to possibly allow people to rent out their basement suites and carriage houses, but Mayor Colin Basran sounded a cautionary note.

“I am struggling a little bit with where, ultimately, we’re maybe going to end up,” Basran told council. “This council and the one in the past worked really hard to create more affordable housing and there are a couple of lines in this report that are really standing out for me.”

He read those lines, written by Community Planning supervisor Laura Bentley, out loud, including: “Allowing short-term rentals in these units is expected to remove units from the long-term rental housing market, putting added pressure on purpose-built rentals and other forms of rental housing.”

In March, council passed regulations to allow vacation rentals in condos and houses, but had excluded suites and carriage houses so they could be rented out long term. But the overwhelming majority of people who spoke at a public hearing on those changes argued to expand the rules to suites.

Both Coun. Brad Sieben and Coun. Ryan Donn praised the proposed new rules. Donn said the public process is “alive and kicking.”

There are four proposed restrictions on the short-term rental of suites and carriage houses. The person renting the suites must live on the property, only one operation is allowed on each property, a maximum of two bedrooms can be rented and there has to be one parking spot.

Staff considered more specific regulations, such as tying the tourist rentals to vacancy rates, restricting them to the four summer months or to specific geographical areas, but rejected those as either too restrictive or too hard to administer.

The proposed new rules will go to a public hearing on May 21.

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