Airbnb and City of Vancouver Reach a Compromise for Short-Term Renters

A new business license will be required by short-term hosts to protect rental stock.

The City of Vancouver has partnered with the world’s largest online accommodation platform to create a new business license, which aims to restore long term rental options in the city while supporting individual’s supplemental income.At City Hall today, Mayor Gregor Robertson announced that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Airbnb, the first of its kind in Canada, that will require hosts to post their short term rental business license on every listing in order to avoid fines of up to $1,000 per day.Owners and renters in Vancouver will be able to apply for the license online starting April 19, after the agreement is passed by Council, which will cost a one time fee of $56 followed by a prorated fee of $49 annually.“That means currently 6,600 short-term rental listings in Vancouver, 88 percent of which are on Airbnb’s platform, will now have to meet the terms of this partnership,” said Robertson. “The goal of the City is making sure we protect long term rental stock while enabling the supplemental incomes of people using Airbnb as a short term rental platform.”

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While other accommodation platforms owned by Expedia and TripAdvisor have yet to sign a MOU, they’ve committed in writing to educate their users to follow the rules and post their business licensing, said Kaye Krishna, General Manager of Development, Buildings and Licensing.“We want to encourage people to understand what the requirements are and sign up, so we’re giving them until Aug 31st to get online and get onboard,” Krishna said, adding that the City will host several public engagement sessions and social media campaigns.Airbnb representative Alex Dagg said the new regulations and online access to licensing give hosts a simple way to follow the rules.“We’re grateful to the City for recognizing the value of sharing homes to many Vancouverites, because as the global economy changes and job stability becomes less secure, home-sharing is an housing affordability solution for many of our hosts,” Dagg said.Airbnb will collect and remit provincial tax fees every year, and four new jobs have been created because of this partnership—an enforcement officer, licensing clerk, property inspector and legal council.As of date, only Portugal has a similar partnership with Airbnb, which is working on a similar agreement with St. Lucia, Spain.