LETTER: Summerland’s short-term rental policy must be examined

Long-term rentals are being forced out by the lure of easy money from short-term rentals

Dear Editor:

The Affordable Housing Framework presentation to Summerland council in October 2017 recommended that the District of Summerland adopt a Short Term Housing Policy and review the existing policies in other municipalities such as Nelson and Whistler.

Communities such as Nelson have identified short term rentals as a problem and have created bylaws that restrict the number of licenses and require registration of short-term rental units.

Looking on the Summerland District web site it does not appear that the policy recommendations have been implemented.

READ ALSO: LETTER: Carriage houses, secondary suites used for short-term rentals

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The Affordable Housing Framework document states why long term rentals are being forced out by the lure of easy money from short term rentals.

“It is much easier to list a suite on vacation rental sites than deal with the issues that arise from having long-term renters. Owners of unregistered suites will rent to monthly renters from September to May and then kick them out in order to accommodate short-term vacation renters during the summer.”

The pros and cons section of the document includes a statement about the effect of short term rentals on the local economy including, “Short Term Rentals undermines long-term sustainability and year round activity of local businesses especially in seasonal destination communities and that they may displace year-round renters from the community.”

The document also includes articles on the consequences of leaving services like AirBnB unchecked that have been widely outlined in the City of Vancouver.

I’m hoping that Summerland District staff will in the near future develop short term rental bylaw recommendations and guidelines by reviewing these articles and other communities existing bylaws.

Having bylaws in place will help residents in established single family neighbourhoods continue to enjoy living in the peace and quiet they bought into all year round.

Diana Smith

Summerland

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