Kelowna realtor petitioning against province's short-term rental legislation

Fighting short-term policy

The provincial government has gone too far in its legislation banning short-term rentals within specific areas of municipalities across the province, says a local petition.

A Kelowna realtor is hoping public pressure in the form of a petition will prompt the province into amending its legislation.

JP Letnick says the petition is not looking to quash the entire legislation, just the part of it that bars short-term rentals in buildings zoned and designed for that purpose.

"There is a misconception where people are angry about rentals in their backyard in residential zones. That's a different story," Letnick tells Castanet News.

"These buildings like Caban, Aqua, Brooklyn were specifically purpose-build, zoned, legally used as if it was a hotel for short-term rentals. And they are not being allowed within this legislation with the government.

"To be completely transparent I do have a unit at Aqua Phase 1 which is supposed to be allowed short-term rentals. That is the type of buildings we are trying to help people with."

Letnick says the concern is people have bought units in these buildings in good faith to use them specifically for short-term rentals.

Buyers now forced to sell

Now that they are being switched to long-term rentals only, Letnick says many are being forced to sell at a reduced price and losing equity they had built up.

"A lot of these buyers, a majority of which are not greedy investors but are Canadian families that have decided they want to venture into this type of business, are looking at the numbers and finding they will be paying $1,000 a month extra just to cover the mortgage which doesn't make financial sense."

While Letnick says the petition is something he is doing on his own, it does have the blessing of propertyrightsbc.org, a grass roots organization he says is lobbying both municipal and provincial governments in hopes of amending the legislation.

If those actions fail he says the organization is prepared to take the government to court.

Letnick says he appreciates the legislation's intent to remove illegally operating short-term rentals which may "marginally" contribute to increasing availability of long-term rentals, but is concerned with the potential negative effects on the tourism sector, employees and families who depend on lawfully operating short-term rentals.

He hopes to present the petition to the province in early spring.

More Kelowna News