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Kelowna council votes in favour of stricter rules for short-term rentals

Kelowna City Council has voted in favour of amendments to the city’s short-term rental (STR) regulations, after receiving additional information from the provincial government.

During the Monday afternoon meeting, city council voted in favour of not allowing STRs to operate as a principal or secondary land use in Kelowna’s mixed use and residential zones.

This was the original recommendation which was brought forward in October 2023.

There are few exceptions to these new rules and they go into effect on May 1, 2024.

<who> Photo Credit: City of Kelowna

“Affordability and access to appropriate housing is top of mind for Kelowna residents and all levels of government need to take bold action and work together to address the challenges we’re collectively facing,” said Ryan Smith, divisional director of planning, climate action and development services.

“These changes are being recommended to address challenges being experienced in the community and to turn more units into long-term homes for people.”

Under the new rules, staff recommended that 498 currently licensed secondary use STRs should be allowed to continue operating in Kelowna, even after May 1, with a "legally non-conforming" status, provided they meet provincial principal residence requirements.

According to the new provincial rules, which were introduced in October, STRs are only being permitted within the host’s principal residence.

The province defines a principal residence as “the residence in which an individual resides for a longer period of time in a calendar year than any other place.”

A staff report says the Local Government Act establishes non-conforming uses and the city has identified 13 properties where the principal, permitted non-conforming uses apply.

Come May 1, protection to non-conforming use of property will no longer apply to STRs that are not following the province’s principal residence rules.

Council also directed staff to follow-up at a future meeting with a report outlining specific properties that may be eligible for a potential request to the provincial government for exemption status from the principal residence requirement.

Any STR licences that were renewed this year will only be valid until April 30, 2024.

For more information on STRs in Kelowna, click here.

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