Writing in “Building“, Andrew Sobchak and Laura LeBlanc look at short term rentals (STR’s) in Vancouver, from a broad perspective including small and large players.
Perceived issues? Well, a few of them are listed to kick off the article. Plus opinion and data (pro and con) to sharpen thought about these issues’ merits.
Headlines have been turning on Airbnb for the better part of two years, first in cities like San Francisco and New York, then, with more frequency in 2016, as the platform achieved scale in other cities. At a time in Vancouver of peak foreign investment and plummeting vacancy, advocacy groups lined up in opposition:
- Renters claimed Airbnb siphoned away long-term rental stock, thereby driving up prices
- Hotel industry lobbies claimed Airbnb facilitated the operation of informal hotels, reducing bottom lines and threatening employment
- Condominium boards and neighbourhood associations claimed Airbnb increased transience, decreasing safety and quality of life
- City budget hawks claimed Airbnb diminished the tax base, making it easy for landlords to avoid paying dues
- Real estate investment watchdogs claimed Airbnb attracted off-shore buyers, heightening an already critical foreign ownership crisis.
For many, Airbnb was the key to an over-stuffed closet full of urban skeletons.
Vancouver’s response? HERE‘s the staff report (41-page PDF) from July 11, 2017. Public hearings are scheduled for the fall of 2017. For me, the big issues with the proposed controls are compliance enforcement (costs), followed by the breadth of complexity in the STR world and of competing interests.
Thanks to Yuri Artibise for the tip.