The increasing use of condos for short-term rentals has been a controversial issue for many living in strata developments in British Columbia. Noise, mess and security issues are just a few of the reasons why some strata corporations restrict short-term rentals in their buildings. However, others point to short-term rentals as a way to combat housing affordability concerns. As a response to these issues, BC’s 2018 Budget has bolstered the power of strata corporations to levy higher fines for breaches of strata bylaws. Under the current laws, a strata council may levy the following maximum fines once the council has determined that a breach of a bylaw or rule has occurred:
- $500 for a rental restriction bylaw breach;
- $200 for any other bylaw breach; or
- $50 for a breach of a rule
While the 2018 Budget has not indicated specific fine amounts, the provincial government has expressed its intention to give power to strata corporations to levy higher fines than are currently permitted under the Strata Property Act. Developers should consider whether they wish to take advantage of these heightened fine amounts in a strata corporation’s bylaws when developing new strata units.
Additionally, in response to the economic impact that short-term rentals have on British Columbians, the provincial government is attempting to ensure that legitimate home-sharing is appropriately taxed. As a result, the Province and Airbnb have agreed to move forward with legislative changes to allow Airbnb to collect the 8% provincial sales tax (PST) and the up to 3% municipal and regional district tax on all its accommodation provided in British Columbia. The provincial government believes this action supports municipalities and will give local governments the authority to regulate short-term rentals.