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Vancouver council hikes fees, including big increase for short-term rental licences – BC

Vancouver City Council has approved increases to a slew of fees with the biggest impacting short-term rental owners.

Council and city staff called the fee hikes “necessary” to limit the property tax increase in the upcoming budget. Increased fees include business licensing, trade contractor licensing, and even licensing dogs.

“I think what we are hearing, loud and clear, is frustration with unlicensed or illegal operations of short-term rentals within the city,” said Vancouver City Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung.

It will now cost $1,000 annually to license a short-term rental in Vancouver.

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City staff had proposed to bring the fee up to $450, but during Wednesday’s meeting, Coun. Lenny Zhou proposed an amendment to increase the fee.

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“We can send a very clear signal to people that illegal short-term rentals are not acceptable in the city of Vancouver,” Zhou told Global News.

Vancouver’s current short-term rental fee of $109 falls well below other B.C. cities such as Squamish at $500 and Kelowna at $345.

Zhou said moving the fee up will bring the City of Vancouver an extra $2.6 million in revenue. He said the funds will be used for stronger enforcement of short-term rental regulations.

“(It will allow) the hiring of more inspectors and enforcement officers. It will also help us enhance our capability to identifying and address illegal short-term rental operators,” Zhou said.

Before the year’s end, council is also banking on help from the province as B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon previously said he is planning to introduce legislation to address short-term rental concerns.

Global News has reached out to Airbnb for comment.

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