Changes to the British Columbia Rental Market | The Mobility Impact 10.31.2023 | Ann Stafford, CERP, GMS

Like many areas, British Columbia has seen a dramatic increase in the number of properties being listed as short-term rentals through platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo. A short-term rental is defined as less than 90 consecutive days. With investors buying up properties to rent out short-term for a profit, this has led to a dwindling supply of affordable long-term rentals.

In an effort to increase the number of long-term rentals in British Columbia, the Short-Term Rental Accommodation Act was passed by legislators. This act has a number of elements to it with a varying timeline, cumulating at the end of 2024. Here are the highlights of the legislation:

  • Fines for illegal operators will increase from $1,000 to $3,000 CAD per day. In addition, regional districts will be allowed to license and regulate short-term rentals.
  • There will be a principal residence requirement, meaning that people can only rent out the home they primarily live in for the majority of the year. However, they can also rent out a secondary suite within that principal residence. This rule will apply to communities with 10,000 or more residents, with some exceptions for resort areas.
  • All rental listings on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo will require a municipal business license.
  • Short-term rental platforms will be required to share data with the province, including information about the hosts.

In addition, a provincial compliance and enforcement team will be created to help municipalities enforce these new requirements.

How does this legislation affect global mobility and temporary living?
  • Decreased availability of short-term rental properties is leading to potential delays in relocation.
  • Requirement of a minimum 90-day stay, which could, in some instances, triple the cost of temporary housing.
  • Lack of properties that can accommodate large families and/or pets.

While the general purpose of this legislation is commendable in its aim to provide more affordable long-term housing options to British Columbians, it has a perhaps unintended effect on relocating employees transitioning to their new homes. With this legislation having just been passed, Weichert Workforce Mobility and Weichert Corporate Housing are working with our partners to gain clarification on any possible exceptions for relocating employees.

Weichert Corporate Housing is working closely with our Canadian Partners to ensure that current restrictive legislation does not come to fruition. We are lending our support to them in their efforts to quash any governmental bylaws that will be disruptive to the current way relocation companies conduct business.
Laurie Boyer Vice President Client Services, Weichert Corporate Housing

While we continue to monitor this legislation, if you’d like to explore possible long-term leases in British Columbia, please reach out to your Client Service Director.

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Written by Ann Stafford, CERP, GMS

Ann Stafford, Weichert

A veteran of Canadian workforce mobility, Ann is an accomplished leader with over 25 years of experience managing teams and servicing clients worldwide. As Regional Vice President, Ann charts our strategic direction across Canada, overseeing client partnerships, customer service delivery, talent development and supply chain management, and helping to identify new business opportunities.

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