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Money City of Kelowna hiring company to find illegal short-term rentals

09:00  09 december  2019
09:00  09 december  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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New bylaws to allow and regulate short - term rentals in Kelowna are now in effect, and anyone operating a short - term rental must apply for and be issued a business licence. Under the new rules, a homeowner or primary resident can legally rent their principal residence for periods of 29 days or less.

The City of Kelowna is cracking down on the number of short - term rentals operating illegally . It believes there are hundreds of people renting out their homes without the proper license.

The City of Kelowna is hiring a company to help crack down on the hundreds of short-term rentals it believes are operating illegally in the city.

According to the city, five months after a short-term rental licence became officially required, more than 800 people still don't have one.

The city said finding those unlicensed operators is labour-intensive, so it's hiring a company to do the work for around $100,000 a year.

a close up of a sign: The Airbnb app seen on a smartphone home screen in an undated file photo. © Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images The Airbnb app seen on a smartphone home screen in an undated file photo.

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Find a short term rentals 🏡 to suit your temporary housing needs locally with Kijiji Real Estate. Furnished room for short term rental in Kelowna . Shared accommodation in 2 bedroom 1 bath condo. Owner lives on site in second bedroom.

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READ MORE: Airbnb operators in Kelowna face $500 per day fines after July 1 licensing deadline

However, the city said the taxpayers won't have to foot that bill.

Instead, Kelowna expects to cover the cost through licensing fees.

READ MORE: Group urges city to toughen up Edmonton’s short-term rental rules

Licensing prices for short-term rental operators vary, but typically run between $350 and $750 a year, more than triple the cost of Vancouver's.

For licensed short-term rental host Cherie Hansen, who paid less than $30 for a business licence for years, it's too much.

"For those of us who are seniors, and the largest percentage of Airbnb operators in Kelowna are seniors, who are open about 60 days a year, raising the business licence that much really hurts us," Hansen said.

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The department has usually found illegal short - term rentals through online advertisements, but operators have employed tactics to hide the properties Rental operators found in violation will first be issued a warning, giving them seven days to shut down. The cases are closed if officials cannot find

Short - term rental operators who are operating without a business licence will now be subject to compliance action and fines. We are invested in being a City that is shaped by collaboration, responsible decision making, connected citizens and by adapting in smart ways to rapid growth.

READ MORE: More than 3,600 rogue short-term rental operators in facing enforcement, says City of Vancouver

The city said that in the fall, it sent out hundreds of warning letters to unlicensed short-term rental operators and is now seeing "positive results."

"People are recognizing that they've been caught and they're coming in and seeing what they have to do to licence up for 2020," said Kelowna's business licence manager Greg Wise.

The city said it hasn't issued any fines yet, but they are coming and will cost operators $500 a day.

If someone has several fines, the city plans to pursue court action.

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