Short-term rentals not part of Kamloops’ secondary suites update

The City of Kamloops will not look at short-term rental accommodations as it updates its secondary suite regulations.

City community planner Carmin Mazzotta said the city so far has minimal listings, which have not been problematic.

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He said Kamloops has about 150 unique listings on websites such as HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb, and has received only three complaints in the past two to three years.

“The scope of a project to begin regulating short-term rentals is pretty expensive, compared to the scope of the issue,” Mazzotta told KTW.

If other communities have issues that need addressing, Mazzotta said, Kamloops can learn from those municipalities if similar issues arise locally.

Other more heavily tourist-based communities — such as Tofino, Victoria, Vancouver, Nelson and Kelowna, — have been impacted by issues related to short-term rentals.

Kelowna, for example, has about 2,000 unique listings and is regulating its short-term rentals as they encroach on availability of long-term housing.

In late February, Kelowna council introduced bylaw amendments that would allow short-term rentals in a principle residence, but generally disallow them in secondary suites or carriage houses, with some exceptions.

Additionally, anyone looking to operate a short-term rental in the Lake City would require a business licence.

Mazzotta said that process by the municipality has been lengthy.

Public engagement began in fall of 2017 and the city had a five-hour public hearing on the matter last month.

The rules are expected to be implemented this month.

“There’s some lessons to be learned from these other municipalities,” Mazzotta said.

“Right now, what we’re going to do is we’re going to observe that, we’re going to monitor the numbers here and apply that to a potential future strategy to potential future zoning amendments.”

Mazzotta said the city’s existing regulations apply to short-term rental accommodations. Rules within the zoning bylaw around borders and lodgers, for example, is the equivalent of an Airbnb. Shared accommodations in someone’s house are allowed under those rules to a maximum of two people.

“That is probably the equivalent of an Airbnb shared room,” Mazzotta said.

“Where there’s no separate cooking facilities, may or may not have their own bathroom. It’s not a suite. We do allow those in all residential zones to a maximum of two persons.”

The city has not heard complaints from the accommodations industry and the focus continues to be on long-term rental accommodations.

During a workshop on Tuesday, Kamloops council asked staff to come back with amendments to zoning, business licensing and traffic regulations, which would pave the way for more secondary and garden suites to increase rental stock.

Council also approved development of a suites registry program. A public hearing on the matter will take place later in the spring or in the summer before any changes are adopted.

Meanwhile, as the city continues to monitor short-term rentals in Kamloops and how other communities are dealing with them, Coun. Denis Walsh called them a “threat” to long-term accommodations.

Walsh said homeowners are taking housing out of the stock for others to purchase or rent because they can make more money renting short-term than long-term.

“It will become a problem in Kamloops if we don’t address it,” he said.

© Kamloops This Week


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