In order to help control rising housing costs in White Rock and better address new modern challenges facing the city part of my platform as a candidate for City Council introduces new rules for short term rentals (AirBnBs). If elected I want to ensure that we’re not losing long term rentals to these short term hotel like rentals, while still allowing residents to rent out a secondary suite in their primary residence to help make ends meet.
Like any bylaw this will require enforcement. Laws not enforced are pointless.
Today Mayoral Candidate Garry Wolgemuth contacted me via my Contact Page and asked the following:
Jeffery you may be aware that I have uncovered at least four residences in White Rock thatare operating as illegall hotels. They are unlicensed ,do not meet the bylaw requirements and go unabated. What is your stance on the poor enforcement of the already existing short term rental bylaws . In your policy section a couple of the points you make are already in existence but not being pro actively enforced. There was one that It took many emails until the city took action and shut them down because the owners just stalled on compliance. The City was allowing them to operate full tilt while they said they were working with the owner to enforce the bylaws. Why doesn't the City just shut them down until compliance is met? I have had to FOIR for the secondary suite permits and business licenses while unbeknownst to the City. I have them several times shall we say mis leading me that the owners are in compliance.The illegal AirBnB situation is rampant here . They are not allowed in any stratas period yest there are dozens if not hundreds all over town. I gave up at 35 the other day.
So here’s my reply:
Thanks for writing! You touch on a few issues that are important and that I’ve worked to address in my proposal for a new bylaw dealing with AirBnB rentals. I think we’re on the same page but I figured I’d lay out my thoughts.
1) If we’re going to have bylaws then we should be enforcing them. That even the currently permissive regulations on short term rentals aren’t properly enforced is disappointing if true. A new council needs to ensure that White Rock staff understand that it’s a priority that the bylaws are enforced and as part of the new council I will work with staff to ensure that they have everything they need from us to support them doing this.
If staff aren’t going to enforce bylaws then that’s a much larger issue that goes just beyond AirBnB rentals.
2) My policy goes a bit further than our current permissive rules around this, even the newer ones. I’m sure we could look at going even further but on the other hand I also want to respect property owners’ rights. It’s a difficult balance and following the lead of Vancouver, I think my policy manages to do both.
Hopefully that addresses your concerns!
Thank you very much for writing and I wish you luck on your campaign. I know you’re a passionate advocate for this city and I’m glad to see that you’re asking the hard questions of candidates!
- Jeffery Simpson
Candidate, White Rock City Council
Update: I feel I should give credit to the city. In July they did, as Garry mentioned, update the bylaws to adopt some of the policies that I’ve proposed.
Update #2: As noted by Gini in the comments stratas also have tools provided by the provincial government. Some cities, such as Vancouver, have given stratas the ability to fine AirBnB units up to $1,000 a day. I would continue to feel that White Rock should follow suit, but the provincial government is also passing laws to that effect. I support White Rock doing so anyway, in case a future provincial government changes the provincial law.