City of Kelowna eyes eliminating short-term rentals from much of the city

Tough on short-term rentals

The City of Kelowna is proposing radical changes to its short-term rental bylaw.

If approved by city council Monday, short-term rentals would be banned in most zones in the city.

This would include all agricultural and rural, single and two dwelling, multi-dwelling, core area and other zones, and comprehensive development zones.

The exception would be the McKinley Beach Resort zone, properties with approved site-specific regulations as well as current operators with valid business licenses.

At the present time there are 1,191 valid business licenses for short-term rentals in areas in zones across the city and another 764 in exempt areas. There are many more unlicensed short-term rentals operating.

Several buildings still under construction, including Aqua and Caban, will continue to have short-term rentals as a permitted use.

The city says it is not clear how the provincial government's crackdown on short-term rentals, revealed this week, will impact the city's own bylaws. Staff are recommending the city stop accepting applications for short-term rental business licenses until the outcome of the new provincial legislation has been determined.

According to planning director Ryan Smith those properties being exempt under the new proposed bylaw could change depending on the provisions contained within the provincial legislation.

The province plans on restricting short-term rentals to owners who live in the property that they are renting, with a few exceptions for resorts and smaller communities.

Kelowna city council originally endorsed the current short-term policy in 2019 but are looking at the issue again to ensure short-term rentals did not negatively impact the long-term rental supply.

"Given the findings of the recently presented Housing Needs Assessment, staff have proposed regulations that are more considerate of long-term housing needs than the originally endorsed council direction," the city staff report states.

Smith says the timing of the city's proposed changes on the heals of the provincial announcement is purely coincidental.

He says anyone planning to invest in property with plans on using it for short-term rental in the city or anywhere in the province should think twice.

Should council accept the recommendations within the staff report, it would go to a full public hearing.

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