Kelowna strikes blow for housing affordability by limiting short-term rentals - InfoNews

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Kelowna strikes blow for housing affordability by limiting short-term rentals

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran
May 22, 2019 - 11:28 AM

KELOWNA - Despite the fact that the majority of speakers at a public hearing last night argued in favour of putting their suites into the Airbnb rental pool, Kelowna city council chose to go the other way.

In March, council approved new rules for such rentals for full homes, condos and in certain zones. At that public hearing, the vast majority of speakers wanted the rules to be expanded to include basement suites and carriage houses.

The bylaw was revised and a new public hearing called for last night, May 21, just on the suites and carriage house issue. City clerk Stephen Fleming told that about two-thirds of the speakers were in favour of adding those in.

“What we heard loud and clear from homeowners and tenants that spoke last night, either for or against, is that affordability is an issue,” Mayor Colin Basran said today.

“What has been shown in recent studies of short-term rentals is that allowing them actually increases rents and increases the cost of a home to purchase,” Basran added. “If we were to approve the use of suites and carriage houses, I think we would see that same trend continue in Kelowna where rents would continue to be pushed up.

“We also know properties that generate income typically have greater value and, therefore, it would continue to push up the price of home for purchase."

Basran said he was in favour of taking the issue to the public for input but had warned council he would not necessarily support it.

Councillors Luke Stack, Gail Given and Mohini Singh joined Basran in voting the changes down after a two-hour public hearing. Councillors Loyal Wooldridge, Charlie Hodge and Brad Sieben were in favour. Coun. Maxine DeHart excused herself due to a potential conflict of interest because she works for a hotel. Coun. Ryan Donn was absent for the vote.

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