The role of short-term rentals in B.C.'s rising rents: a $2 billion impact, according to McGill University study.
A NEW GROUNDBREAKING REPORT by McGill University Professor Dr. David Wachsmuth has been released that sheds light on the influence of commercial short-term rental growth on British Columbia’s rental costs. The report underscores the need for the Province of B.C. to implement a province-wide short-term rental registry and platform accountability measures to save tenants billions in rent and address housing supply, attainability, and affordability.
Utilizing a mixed-effect linear regression model covering major and mid-sized urban areas in B.C., the study unveils compelling insights:
• In the summer of 2023, approximately 16,810 homes shifted from residential to dedicated commercial (investor-owned) short-term rentals, signifying a 19.1% decline in housing availability over 2022.
• The rapid resurgence of short-term rentals in 2022 astonishingly contributed to 28.1% of rent increases that year.
• The study estimates that tenants province-wide bore an extra $2 billion in rent costs between 2016 and 2021 due to the expansion of commercial short-term rentals.
• The report warns that unless addressed, the housing loss induced by commercial short-term rentals will persist, with renters continuing to shoulder the burden.
Fairbnb Canada Network encourages B.C.’s Eby government to fulfill its commitment to “establishing new tools for local governments to help them better regulate short-term rentals in their communities”, outlined in its December 2022 Housing Mandate Letter. Fairbnb suggests this must include:
• Enforcing a Principal Residence Requirement to maintain genuine “homesharing.”
• Establishing a Province-Wide Registry to track and ensure accountability.
• Maintaining Platform Accountability to ensure short-term rental platforms will not advertise any rental that doesn't have an approved registration number.
• Implementing Real-Time Data Sharing for efficient market monitoring within municipalities.
“Across Canada, our existing stock of affordable housing is disappearing at an alarming rate. New units being built do not meet the affordability levels that Canadians need, and for every new unit built, at least five are being lost to excessive rent increases, renovation, redevelopment, and conversion to other uses like short-term rentals,” says Annie Hodgins, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights. “This report demonstrates the extent to which commercial short-term rentals are exacerbating Canada’s affordability crisis by driving up rents and taking sorely needed units away from renter households. Governments in British Columbia and across Canada must work together to implement regulations to stabilize rent increases and mitigate the impact of commercial short-term rentals on the housing affordability crisis.”
“This report marks the first time we can quantify the far-reaching effects that the transformation of homes into ghost hotels has on tenants' rents across the province,” said Thorben Wieditz, Executive Director of Fairbnb Canada Network. "It illustrates beyond doubt that limiting short-term rental use to actual home-sharing—by eliminating commercial short-term rental growth—must be part of regulatory efforts to address British Columbia's housing crisis. With Quebec leading the way with landmark legislation following the deadly fire in a Montreal Airbnb earlier this year, we know that effective solutions can be implemented, and quickly.”
You can download the complete 40-page report here. Fairbnb Canada Network is a Canadian non-profit organization advocating for equitable short-term rental regulations across the country. Comprising voices from tenant organizations, the regulated hotel and B&B industry, property owners, academics, and concerned citizens, Fairbnb's mission is to protect housing security. Originally founded as an informal coalition, Fairbnb emerged in response to the 845% growth in Airbnb listings in Canada since 2012. They call for a robust, nationally-consistent policy framework that balances fair, safe, and respectful short-term rental legislation, without seeking to ban genuine "homesharing." Fairbnb supports tenants and property owners who legally rent spare rooms or spaces in their principal residences, emphasizing compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Learn more at www.fairbnb.ca.