Cumberland has been wrestling with what to do with the town’s short-term rentals for the past few months.
It’s been tough to balance residents who want to keep house prices livable and those looking to tap into Cumberland’s growing tourism market.
Now, Cumberland’s council has made some final decisions.
“This is a big item off our plate,” Mayor Leslie Baird said following the vote.
A complete list of new rules can be found here, but the key differences the bylaw enforces are:
- All properties must have a principal owner living in them,
- Owners are limited to renting a maximum of three bedrooms, and
- All properties must identify themselves with an outdoor sign of at least 0.3 square metres.
Councillors raised a few questions about that last point.
Some residents, including Councillor Sean Sullivan, saw potential issues with placing signs on every Airbnb property.
“I feel like if you have signs everywhere, it makes it less ‘neighbourhoody,’” he said.
But doesn’t having a bunch of Airbnbs also make a place feel less “neighbourhoody”?
Other concerns included security. Some folks suggested thieves may be more likely to target the houses they assume are unoccupied.
These concerns were dismissed, though, as houses on Airbnb now need a principal tenant. That means those houses won’t be empty.
In a city with no hotels, short-term rentals can fill a gap in Cumberland’s tourism industry.
The signs may seem extreme to some, but travellers may be more likely to linger if they can see options available as they drive through.
Council also brought in new zoning to identify which areas in the city will be eligible to apply for a short-term rental license.
The number of people using vacation rentals as investments has grown dramatically in the last few years.
BC is struggling with a fire-hot housing crisis. By bringing in measures to limit short-term rentals, Cumberland may take the heat down a notch.