The Town of Qualicum Beach wants to work with property owners to address illegal short-term vacation rentals in the community.
Council has agreed to direct staff to develop a regulatory framework for the legalization of short-term vacation rentals in residential areas but not only after the B.C. government has implemented its recommendations from a June 21, 2021 report entitled ‘Priorities for Action on Short-Term Rentals.’
“It’s an insightful document that was developed by the province with a lot of collaboration with user and stakeholder groups,” said Luke Sales, town planner. “What it basically identifies is there’s fundamental areas where local governments either do not have the information or the resources to really implement a regulatory framework that provides a level playing field for all short-term vacation operators such as hotels and motels and other resorts.”
Sales advised council to wait for provincial guidelines to provide the town with all the resources and information they need to enact a regulatory system.
Some members of council agreed with Sales’s recommendation but are not in favour of not taking any actions to deter illegal short-term vacation rentals outside the town’s zoning regulations and business licensing.
Sale recommended council direct staff to contact all operators to inform them of the regulations and invite them to have a discussions with town town on how they can make them legal. Council agreed.
Under current regulations, several types of short-term vacation rentals are permitted in the town:
• Bed and breakfast rooms in most tourist zones (RR1, R1, R2, R5, R14);
• Dwelling units and/or suites in tourist commercial areas (C2, C6, C8, C9, CD1 zones);
• Hotel and motel units;
Sales explained it is legal for a property owner who resides in the home to rent out a portion of the house short-term.
“What is not allowed is for someone to rent an entire dwelling unit,” said Sales. “There are cases where someone could change the way that they rent their units to mean that it’s not the entire house. And then it wouldn’t be brought into compliance.”
Sales also added “when entire dwelling units are rented, that dwelling unit could have been a residential rental and that’s what we’re in dire need of… so there are ways to make it work.”
Town council was prompted to request staff members to come up with a regulatory framework after residents have come forward raising their concerns and objections to illegal short-term vacations rentals.