Nancy Paine's short-term rental business is dead in the water.
As co-founder and CEO of Victoria-based Superhost, Paine said she had been at the forefront of the Airbnb revolution for seven years, acting as a “liaison” for homeowners needing help with the logistics of running a listing on the accommodation site.
At the peak of business, her staff managed 65 properties, welcoming thousands of guests from around the world to what Condé Nast Traveller magazine recently rated as the "best city in the world."
"I have such great relationships with my homeowners," Paine said.
But Paine said that will all come to an end next spring when British Columbia enacts a law restricting short-term rentals to a homeowner's principal residence. It's among new housing regulations being rolled out over two years, with the government saying it wants to stop short-term rentals “taking away homes people need.”
"I expect business volumes to really plummet as of January and then, basically, I won’t have a business as of May 1,” said Paine.
“I'm planning to close my business as of May 1. It's really sad because I've worked really hard … I have 15 staff that I'm going to have to lay off,” she added.
Short-term rental managers like Paine across B.C. are lamenting the demise of their business model, while real estate agents say owners of investment properties are being forced to sell at a loss or risk being unable to pay their mortgage.
Supporters of the policy agree about some of those impacts — the difference is they think it proves the policies are a success.
The government said the suite of reforms gives local governments stronger enforcement tools, and establish the province's role in regulating short-term rentals. Details released Thursday said local governments could “opt out” of the principal-residence requirement annually if their community had a rental vacancy rate of three per cent or more for two consecutive years.
B.C. Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon said in an interview on Tuesday that the number of former short-term rentals going up for sale in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna showed the policies were working.
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