Letter: Why add bylaws that can't be enforced?

Dear Editor,

Re: “City staff urge legalizing illegal hotels,” News, Jan. 3. 

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In a proposal by the City of Richmond to regulate short-term rentals and the conversion of houses to mini-hotels, Mayor Malcolm Brodie, recently stated that “We are better off to try to regulate and go forward rather than just ignore the issue, and letting a bad situation get much worse.”

Proposed regulations could include requiring a business licence to operate, a restriction on the number of persons in the rental units, and the onsite presence of the owner.

At the same time, in response to the issue of illegal hotels operating on farmland, the city is on record stating that even though they have received more than 100 complaints, they haven’t issued a single fine. Furthermore, the city lacks the manpower to effectively communicate and enforce bylaws. 

Meanwhile, illegal hotels on our ALR continue to operate.

So, what possible purpose does it serve to draft yet more regulations and bylaws pertaining to short-term rentals, if the city lacks the means and, more importantly, the will to enforce them?

Past experience in terms of enforcement would suggest there is no way the city is going to inspect the mini-hotels in our neighbourhoods to look for compliance, or count heads and demand verifiable ID to check for an owner, let alone ever close them down for infractions.

K. A. Hogarth-Davis


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