Money B.C. rental crisis goes far beyond impact of short-term rentals, say experts

15:55  10 november  2019
15:55  10 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Short - term vacation rentals have created a good deal of controversy since the start of their existence about ten years ago and have been growing at an incredible speed ever since. Short - term vacation rentals can bring a positive economic impact to a city or county in several ways.

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scaffolding in front of a building© Provided by Canadian Press Enterprises Inc

VICTORIA — British Columbia's rental housing crisis goes far beyond factoring the impact of short-term rentals, say housing experts who say more building is needed to help families find affordable homes.

Recent data from Airbnb Canada says the short-term rental company collected almost $43 million in provincial, municipal and regional taxes over the past year, which will be provided to the provincial government, regional districts and the City of Vancouver to fund housing and tourism initiatives.

Housing experts said the tax is a small return for a province where families struggle to find affordable homes.

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“If we just ban short term rentals from the city, people will stop being evicted. Have you seen the evictions graph? It goes up at the same time Airbnb It’s about double the money we can get from a long term rental , and we can still keep the room free to help relatives stay when they come to SF on

Anyone in San Francisco who earns rent from a short - term residential rental is considered a business and may owe taxes. We work with the residents of San Francisco to ensure that short - term rental activity respects neighborhood character, preserves housing supply, and complies with the City’s rules.

"The extra amount of tax the hosts are paying and the Airbnb is collecting and passing along, there's no scenario where that tax makes up for the harmful impact of all the short-term rentals on housing availability and affordability in the province," says Prof. David Wachsmuth at McGill University's school of urban planning.

"Even if every cent of it was immediately placed into building affordable housing for B.C. residents that wouldn't begin to address, wouldn't begin to make up for the harmful impacts on the availability of housing short-term rentals are responsible for in the province."

The Finance Ministry estimated last year that an Airbnb tax agreement would generate $16 million, but this year's provincial return is more than double the forecast.

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The rental crisis has been blamed, in part, on the proliferation of Airbnb's short - term rentals , which have The City of Vancouver is readying a report on Airbnb that will look at how short - term rentals are affecting the rental market, and how it should regulate the service, The Vancouver Sun reported.

Short - term rental operators will also be required to purchase an annual license for 49 Canadian dollars. Regulation is a threat that Airbnb is fighting on fronts all over the world. In New York, short - term rentals are banned outright unless a host is present.

"The PST payment agreement is a new tax application, and as with any new tax application, we were conservative in our revenue projections," Finance Minister Carole James said in a statement. "We're closely watching the data as it comes in, and we're making sure municipalities have the information they need to make decisions about regulating short-term rentals."

Wachsmuth, who co-authored a study last June that found more than 31,000 homes across Canada were rented so frequently on Airbnb that they were likely dropped as long-term rentals, said collecting more tax in B.C. than was forecast should be viewed as a "bad sign."

"What that is saying is that compared to Airbnb's estimates, compared to the province's own estimates, there's been dramatically more short-term rental activity in B.C. than they were expecting," he said.

The City of Vancouver said Thursday its efforts to regulate short-term rental units and bring back more long-term rental options are working because the number of long-term rental business licences have increased since the introduction of regulations for short-term rentals.

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“The regulations had a massive impact on the number of rentals in the city, with an The data further reveal a series of dramatic alterations in how the short - term rental market works in Lakeshore saw a steep decline, which the Office of Short - Term Rentals attributes to college students who rent at the

How Short - Term - Rentals Impact Your Neighborhood. By HOM Editorial Team. Leaders in these communities say that’s because homes, that could be available for rent or sale to local residents, are instead being bought by investors and listed on short - term rental company websites (think, for

Brian Clifford, policy manager at the B.C. Non Profit Housing Association, said short-term rentals are just one part of an affordability crisis that escalated after decades of underfunding of housing initiatives.

"We know that (short-term rentals) contributes to affordability problems," he said. "I'd say that there is a lot of focus on Airbnb, but it is not the silver bullet causing the affordability crisis. It is a contributing factor. It's not the sole problem that we have."

Clifford said the society, which represents the non-profit housing sector with more than 600 members, has data highlighting the extent of the affordability crisis across B.C.

In B.C., 43 per cent of renter homes spend more than the recommended affordability benchmark of 30 per cent of gross income on housing and utilities, he said. The national average is 40 per cent.

Clifford said 21 per cent of B.C. renters spend more than half of their income on rent and utilities, while the Canadian average is 18 per cent.

"One in five renters are in a crisis level of spending too much on rent," he said. "It places households at risk of homelessness. If you are spending half of your income, what are you sacrificing?"

Vernon preparing to regulate short term rentals

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I went to the woman who coordinated the graduates and told her what had happened. Of course, the fact that this long- term impact often manifests itself in victims moderating their own behaviour is also indicative of the extent to which our society focuses on the actions of victims rather than perpetrators.

“The fight over short - term rentals isn’t about tech, it’s about housing – and that’s what Housing Conservation Coordinators and MFY Legal Services have “It demonstrates unequivocally that illegal short - term rentals on Airbnb have a significant negative impact on housing in New York City, taking

Clifford said he doesn't yet have evidence that the B.C. government's housing initiatives have had an impact on people needing housing.

"I want to say it's getting better," he said. "We don't really know as of right now whether it is. All indications show rents are increasing. They are increasing faster than what average people are earning."

Housing Minister Selina Robinson said B.C. is building its way out of a housing crisis that grew over several decades. She said thousands of affordable housing projects are under construction and people will start seeing new units by next year.

"We've been missing purpose-built rentals for decades," said Robinson. "We had an out of control housing market. We really had not enough subsidized housing being built in the last couple of decades."

Last year, The NDP government introduced an almost $7 billion affordable housing plan to deliver 114,000 units in a decade.

Robinson said construction of 22,459 units are underway. Of those units, she said 3,281 homes are complete, 6,304 are under construction and 12,874 are in the development and approval process.

"There are people on construction sites, But remember, typically, you have 18 to 48 months depending on where and which community. That's how long it takes."

Wachsmuth said B.C.'s housing plan is leading Canada when it comes to facing the challenges of housing supply and affordability, but more needs to be done.

"Ultimately, the solution has to be governments at the provincial and federal level making much more significant investments in public housing, in subsidized housing and in market housing as well," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2019.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

How will new rules for Airbnb and short-term rentals change Toronto? .
Stricter rules governing Airbnbs and other short-term rentals in Toronto are coming following a decision handed down by the Local Planning and Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) — here's what you need to know.Back in December 2017, Toronto city council approved zoning bylaw amendments that were supposed to take effect in June 2018. However, those rules were put on hold as they were challenged at the LPAT, which made its final ruling on Monday.

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