Richmond council calls for crackdown on short-term rentals

Some Richmond city council members called for  “assertive” enforcement to crack down on short-term rentals.

At a community safety meeting on Tuesday, the committee passed two motions. The first, hire enough staff to investigate all short-term rentals. The second, be more assertive in enforcing rules.

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Coun. Harold Steves noted that council passed a motion last year to add more bylaw officers; however, it was pointed out to him those were only temporary staff.

He replied that he felt there was a need for more permanent bylaw staff to work on short-term rentals, and that they should do more than just investigate based on complaints.

“I think we need to increase the staff to what we intended on a permanent basis,” Steves said, adding “the whole idea of this was to empty those houses so they went to people full-time for people to live in them.”

The Richmond News reported in April on Vancouver housing advocate and IT consultant Rohana Rezel who identified 974 units in Richmond listed on Airbnb, many run by the same operator.

Coun. Alexa Loo voted against both motions, pointing out staff is coming back soon to council with ideas around boarding and lodging regulations. She also said the bylaw department hasn’t indicated they need more staff members.

 The motions will come back to a future council meeting.

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