Over 1,000 Airbnb listings in Vancouver display expired licences

By Chen Zhou and Rohana Rezel

British Columbia’s much anticipated short-term rental regulations are coming into force on May 1. Short-term rental operators will be required to display valid local government business licence numbers, where business licences are required, as is the case in Vancouver.

But with just over a week to go before the new provincial rules take effect, more than a 1,000 Airbnb listings in Vancouver are displaying expired business licences.

Our most recent scan of Airbnb data showed that there are 5,192 units listed on the site. 3,192 would be considered short-term rentals under City of Vancouver bylaws.

We found that 1,069 out of the 3,192 short-term rentals, or 33 per cent, were listed with expired licences.

We have previously reported on how a large percentage of Airbnb listings carry expired licences in Vancouver. City of Vancouver has always responded by saying that the hosts have just “forgotten” to update their licences in the listing pages.

But the city bylaws, and the new provincial rules, require the operators to display valid licences. Simply possessing a valid licence is not sufficient.

The annual cost of a City of Vancouver short-term rental business licence is currently $1,000. It’s unclear to us as to why a host would spend $1,000 to renew their business licence but “forget” to update it to become compliant.

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