We've all heard of Airbnb. We know that it is one of the top-performing companies in the world, and that’s because its model works! Airbnb presents a highly lucrative opportunity for homeowners in the in-demand Okanagan as well as the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver. Kelowna and surrounds may be where you and I live (aren’t we lucky!?), but for others, it's their much-loved go-to winter and summer playground. Who wouldn't want to vacation in one of the most picturesque places in Canada and possibly the world? Vancouver, needless to say, is also a bucket list destination thanks to its lush forests and fashion-forward city vibes.
Perhaps you haven't considered Airbnb. Maybe you have, but believe that it's more hassle than it's worth, or you're unsure of the next steps. I'm here to tell you that it presents an opportunity to pay off your mortgage more speedily, build a greater nest egg for your retirement, or simply travel more frequently. Regardless of your goals, it is a key area to consider if you want to bolster the coffers.
So, we've spoken about the substantial financial benefit, but what of all the potential hiccups you may be afraid of? Airbnb is designed to be user-friendly. Communication between yourself and the potential guests is simple and even enjoyable, and you can choose to handle the rental on your own.
In addition, there’s a wealth of information out there to ensure the Airbnb process works for you (and your guests). Perhaps the idea of hosting is intimidating, but really, it’s not hard to do. This handy link on responsible hosting will help put your mind at ease and give you a better idea of what is expected from your side.
Another area to acquaint yourself with is that of area rules and regulations. Because what is life without some rules, right? Take a further read and gain some valuable insight by reading further and checking out these links for Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country and Vancouver:
“New bylaws to allow and regulate short-term rentals in Kelowna are now in effect, and anyone operating a short-term rental must apply for a business licence. A homeowner or primary resident can legally rent their principal residence (or a bedroom within their residence) for periods of less than 30 days in certain zones in the city, as per Section 9.17 of the Zoning Bylaw. Select tourist areas will continue to allow short-term rentals outside of an operator’s principal residence.
By licensing your short-term rental and following regulations, you're helping limit negative impacts to the long-term rental market, ensuring your accommodation is a good neighbour, and supporting equity among all short-term accommodation providers.
Annual business licences for short-term rentals cost $345 for principal residences and $750 for non-principal residences. These fees reflect the cost of implementation and compliance oversight activities. Short-term rental operators are required to renew their licence annually and ensure all documentation is accurate and up-to-date for the new year. Renewal notices will be mailed in early December, and licence fees are due by Jan. 15 each year regardless of booking start dates”.
Check out the requirements by watching this handy video: https://www.westkelownacity.ca/en/our-community/short-term-accommodations.aspx
“Many Lake Country entrepreneurs have opened their homes to welcome tourist and visitors by providing short-term vacation rentals. Short-term vacation rentals such as Bed and Breakfasts, Airbnbs and VRBOs are important to Lake Country as they provide income to local homeowners and help fill the gap of limited temporary accommodations such as motels and campgrounds.
If you are thinking of starting a short-term vacation rental or you already have one, check the definition of short-term vacation rental in the District’s Zoning Bylaw 561, 2007. Also, check to see if short-term rentals are allowed based on what your property is zoned. Earlier this year Council made it a top priority for bylaw officers to enforce short-term vacation rental bylaws. In the coming weeks operators of short-term vacation rentals will be receiving correspondence from the District explaining the bylaw and requesting that property owners confirm that the bylaw is being followed.
Unfortunately, some neighbourhoods have been negatively impacted by short-term vacation rentals due to inadequate parking, garbage not being disposed of properly and excessive noise. For easy reference, below is a summary of what is required for all short-term vacation rentals in Lake Country:
The short-term rental is in the principal residence where the owner has claimed the homeowner property tax grant.
· Accommodations are located within the primary residence and not in an accessory suite separate from the home (examples include - trailer, motorhome, camper, garage, cabana, or shop).
· There are not more than four (4) sleeping units rented out at the same time.
· There is parking for all guests on the property (guests’ vehicles are not permitted to park on the street).
· All garbage and recycling is contained to the property and properly disposed.
· A valid District of Lake Country business licence is issued for the short-term vacation rental.
· Properties that are not compliant are subject to a daily fine”.
“Our short-term rental regulations help protect long-term rental housing and allow residents to earn additional income.
All short-term rental operators in Vancouver must have a business licence and A
You must have strata approval and/or your landlord must permit the use of short-term rentals in your home before you apply for a licence”.
At the end of the day, Airbnb has pluses that are hard to beat. Most often, Airbnb offers more affordability for travellers, allowing them to see more of the world and their own country. In addition, it’s the little quirks that make the experience extra special for guests. It often feels like a home away from home, rather than the often sterile feel of a hotel. Yes, the sheets should still be crisp and the floors squeaky clean, but those ornaments you've gathered over the years can be left exactly where they are - they add to the charm of your Airbnb. There's a story to be told in most Airbnb's, a touch of family history…and the guests almost always enjoy that.
You may already have Airbnb potential in your current home, such as an in-law suite. Or perhaps you’re looking to invest in the booming Okanagan and Vancouver housing markets but are concerned with being stretched monthly. Airbnb is the answer. It is the ideal opportunity to own property but with an even greater return. Please feel free to chat over options with me.