While travelling extensively in Europe, our family stayed in B&Bs, mainly for our children to experience the people of the city or country, and they were usually less expensive.
Many years later, when my husband lost his corporate job for a short period of time, we decided to think of something to fall back on in the event he lost his job again, since I had quit my corporate job when our son was born and became a stay-at-home mother.
I read books, studied the B&B industry, met people who had B&Bs, joined many organizations and associations and even started the B&B association in Richmond. I opened my B&B in 2002 but, unfortunately, 9/11 struck and everything changed in the world of travel.
When the Olympics hit Vancouver and Richmond, it was the beginning of my success in the business.
Abruptly, the B&Bs were all given notice by the City of Richmond, prior to the Olympics, that we were all illegal and were being shut down. We had thousands of dollars in deposits already, we were booked a year to two ahead of time for the entire Olympics and instantly we were being shut down by the City.
Many council meetings and much frustration later, it was agreed we could operate with many conditions. Those conditions meant no more than six guests were allowed to stay on the premises each night. no matter how large your residence and you had to have parking for them.
You had to obtain a licence to operate and you had to take food safety courses. You had to have a fire inspection, equip the rooms with fire extinguishers and have a fire safety procedure posted on the doors of every room with escape routes. There was no cooking or cooking facilities for use by our guests except refrigeration for drinks etc. We had to be members of a tourism association or organization, pay taxes on the income, have extra home insurance for millions of dollars because we have a swimming pool and to protect our guests in case of any accidents. We are always in the home when we have guests.
When we first complained about Airbnb and the rapid growth of homes, condos and apartments being rented out in Richmond for Airbnb, there were only 54 listed on their website. It is now past 1,000. What have these people done compared to what we have had to do? Are they paying taxes on this income? Are they even bothering to get licensed by the city? Some people gather up as many places as they can and rent them out as a business for themselves, handling all the reservations, payments and cleaning — some have 20-30 apartments, condos, houses, etc.
Secondly, how many today have children who were born and raised here in Richmond, who want to move out of the family home into their own places in Richmond but can’t because they can not find any affordable rentals because of the proliferation of Airbnb?
The majority will never be able to buy in Richmond. How many of these same people have been given notice or not had their leases renewed because the landlords are turning the building into an Airbnb opportunity?
Is Richmond going to be a city of “ghost houses” and now “ghost people?” Would the last traveller out, please turn off the lights.
The Stone Hedge B&B