Vancouver City Council has approved a series of fee increases, with the hardest hit being short-term rental owners.
The City Council and city staff called the fee increases “necessary” to limit property tax increases in the next budget. Increased fees include business licenses, commercial contractor licenses and even dog licenses.
“I think what we’re hearing loud and clear is a frustration with unlicensed or illegal short-term rental operations within the city,” the Vancouver city councilor said. Sarah Kirby-Yung.
It will now cost $1,000 per year to obtain a short-term rental license in Vancouver.
City staff had proposed raising the fee to $450, but at Wednesday’s meeting, Coun. Lenny Zhou proposed an amendment to increase fees.
“We can send a very clear signal to people that illegal short-term rentals are not acceptable in the city of Vancouver,” Zhou told PKBNEWS.
Vancouver’s current short-term rental fees of $109 are much lower than other British Columbia cities, such as Squamish, at $500, and Kelowna, at $345.
Zhou said the fee increase would bring the city of Vancouver $2.6 million in additional revenue. He said the funds would be used to strengthen enforcement of regulations on short-term rentals.
“(This will) allow the hiring of more inspectors and law enforcement officers. It will also help us strengthen our ability to identify and combat illegal short-term rental operators,” Zhou said.
Before the end of the year, the council is also counting on help from the province as B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon previously said he plans to introduce legislation to address rental concerns short term.
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