For actual B&Bs, Kelowna's short term rental regulations are about unfair competition - InfoNews

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For actual B&Bs, Kelowna's short term rental regulations are about unfair competition

By the Bridge B&B owner Don Betton encourages Kelowna City Council to level the playing field in the accommodation industry.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/By the Bridge
March 12, 2019 - 5:30 PM

KELOWNA - Any regulations controlling short term rentals that Kelowna City Council approves tonight, March 12, will be good news for true Bed and Breakfast owners like Don Betton.

“Fundamentally, the whole issue of people operating illegally has a big negative impact,” Betton, owner of By the Bridge Bed and Breakfast, told “To quantify things, anybody putting in an illegal suite has a 16 per cent price advantage right off the bat.

That 16 per cent includes GST, PST and hotel tax that is collected by the province from registered business, such as his.

Tonight, Kelowna council is holding a public hearing on regulations they’ve proposed to require short term rental operators to be licenced and pay their taxes.

But there is more to running an accommodation business than taxes, Betton pointed out.

He estimates his insurance costs are about $1,000 more than for a house and he has to pay property tax as a business, which is more than double the residential rate.

Plus, he needs things like a monitored alarm system and inspections to make sure his property is safe.

“My objective is not to stop people from renting,” Betton said. “It’s just a bizarre situation where people – some people – are choosing to operate illegally. And that does not even recognize that there may be an impact on their neighbours because they’ve never been inspected. Is this a safe property for people to be residing in?

“My objective is to make sure that anybody that is providing accommodation has to be licenced. They have to be declaring their income. They have to be paying their tax. Why should they be allowed to dodge that?”

Among the regulations the city is considering tonight are fines up to $10,000 a day for people renting out all or parts of their homes without being licenced or following other rules.

The public hearing starts at 6 p.m. in City Council chambers.

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