City Council adopts Short-Term Rental Ordinance approving rental regulations
December 20, 2023
Vancouver City Council voted unanimously to adopt a Short-Term Rental (STR) Ordinance following a public hearing at their Dec. 18 meeting. The approval establishes STR regulations that will be implemented for a 24-month pilot period to assess their effectiveness and determine what future changes may be needed.
Until now, the City’s Land Use and Development Code, VMC Title 20, did not allow STRs in residential zones except as expressly authorized under the bed-and-breakfast provisions of VMC 20.830. With the adoption of the STR Ordinance, STR operators must now obtain a City of Vancouver business license ($50), and a Short-Term Rental permit that costs $250.
Existing STR owners currently operating within City limits will be notified of the regulations and be directed on how to follow the permitting process that begins both online and in-person on Jan. 17 when the ordinance becomes effective. Due to the anticipated initial surge of applications, the City is giving applicants until Feb. 15 to apply for a permit.
“Implementation of a regulated and permitted STR program allows the City to monitor compliance with all City and State regulations,” said Vancouver Development Review Manager Jason Nortz. “The regulations give us the ability to inspect any STR to ensure it complies with all regulations”.
To gauge the effectiveness of the STR program during the 24-month pilot period, the City has established a set of goals including:
- Limiting the total number of STRs to no more than 870 units – equivalent to one percent of the City’s current total housing stock at the time of adoption.
- Excluding STRs from any development receiving the Multifamily Tax Exemption incentive.
- Ongoing monitoring to ensure all STRs are compliant with required regulations.
- Ongoing monitoring of impacts to the long-term rental market, including housing affordability.
- Minimizing public safety risks and possible noise and trash problems without creating additional work for the police department and code enforcement personnel.
- Monitoring the responsiveness of code compliance cases.
- Ongoing stakeholder outreach to determine program effectiveness and inform future refinements.
The ordinance is the result of City Council’s request in Sept. 2021, asking City staff to develop a multi-year outreach and monitoring program to scope the STR market in Vancouver. Over the last two years, the project team worked with the Council, Planning Commission and broader community to develop STR regulations that strike a balance between community housing needs and housing affordability with individual property rights, as well as creating a permit process to enable tracking of STRs and for individual complaints to be responded to.
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