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New short-term rental regulations in Kelowna take effect

Kelowna attracted 2.1 million visitors in 2018, according to Tourism Kelowna.

Of that 2.1 million people, 55 per cent travelled for leisure and nine per cent travelled for business while 35 per cent came to visit family and friends.

Yet only 37 per cent of those visitors stayed in hotels or motels while they visited the city.

READ MORE: Airbnb operators in Kelowna face $500 per day fines after July 1 licensing deadline

That could explain the recent increase in short-term rental listings in Kelowna.

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of short-term rentals jumped from just under 1,200 to almost 2,000 – an increase of 69 per cent, according to the city.

City of Kelowna business licence manager Greg Wise calls short-term rentals “essentially a home business.”

WATCH BELOW (Aired Dec. 5, 2018): Kelowna moves to limit short-term rentals to principal homes, ban vacation rentals in secondary suites

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So as of Tuesday, in an effort to get up to speed with changes in Kelowna’s accommodation needs, new regulations are in effect for those wishing to rent their homes out.

For homeowners operating a short-term rental property, that means getting a business licence.

“Those wishing to rent their home on a short-term basis are encouraged to obtain a business licence by July 1,” said Wise.

“After this two-month window, operators found to be listing a property without a business licence, or in violation of associated regulations, will be expected to comply.”

WATCH BELOW (Aired March 13, 2019): Kelowna city council hosts public hearing on short term rentals

According to the City of Kelowna, homeowners can rent their property for 29 days or less with the appropriate business licence. However, some properties near tourist destinations will not need to be licensed.

The change comes in an effort to “support consistency within Kelowna’s accommodation industry,” said Wise.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia moves to regulate short-term rentals in bid to grow sector

Those applying to obtain their business licence can do so by filling out a series of forms on the City of Kelowna’s website.

The forms include proof of residency, mandatory safety information and a good neighbor agreement.

City council says it will consider altering short-term rental standards for secondary suites and carriage houses in the near future.

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