Kelowna homeowners want more options for rentals

After a long public hearing last night, Kelowna councillors approved regulations governing short-term rentals in the city.

The original bylaw called for banning Airbnb-type rentals in secondary suites and carriage houses, but after a majority of homeowners stepped up to say they wanted those options, council directed staff to come up with a plan and make amendments to the bylaw. 

Councillor Gail Given said she probably had her mind changed on secondary suites and carriage houses "because at the end of the day, the best managed properties are the ones who have the owner living right there."

Councillor Luke Stack said 'having a basement suite in your home, in your principle residence, and using it for short-term and or student rental housing is very helpful to people, and they're doing a good job managing it. I do think there is a market for that, and I think that's a reasonable request..and I think that's an area we need to revisit."     

City staff could come back with an amendment sometime next month.  

Excluding carriage houses and secondary suites from short term rentals was the city's attempt to protect long-term renters, but some homeowners said those renters have got great protection under the Residential Tenancy Act, which makes it real hard to get rid of 'bad renters'.  

One hotel operator said if short-term rentals are allowed to continue to grow - it could damage the city's hotel industry - while bed and breakfast owners also had concerns about added competition in the market.

The city expects to begin seeing applications for short-term rental licenses next month.