July 2017 Regulatory Update

    Communities, coast to coast, continue to explore regulations for the short-term rental market. The regulatory field is showing noticeable trends in the larger metropolitan markets, which has a guiding force on the broader regulatory landscape. These trends include licensing by unit, limits to primary residences, ban or severely limit second home rentals, and strict adjudication. However, postponement of votes until after summer legislative recesses and other signs indicate that policy makers are seeing significant pushback on their proposals.

    The VRMA is closely watching and engaging in various battles.  Here is a rundown of some of those significant cases in North America:

    Vancouver: The city has proposed a short-term rental “legalization” effort to help homeowners pay their mortgage that will ban second home rentals. The city believes it can gain 1,000 housing units with this ban, which amounts to .003% of the total housing stock in the city. The proposal is still working its way through the legislative process, but expectations are for a vote in the coming weeks.

    Los Angeles: L.A.’s proposed ordinance calls for a limitation on homesharing to 180 days a year and a limit on second homes to only 15 days a year. However, in mid-June the Council sent the proposal back to the planning department asking for more data and less innuendo (Los Angeles Short-Term Rental Alliance’s summary of the meeting). Reports from our friends at the Los Angeles Short-Term Rental Alliance are that the council will take the issue up in late fall.

    Washington, D.C.: The District is considering “legalizing” short-term rentals like many of their other metropolitan counterparts. The Council has very strong opinions that short-term rentals affect the housing market, without any research to back up their claims. The current proposal, which has been floating since January, is to allow homesharing and limit second homes rentals to just 15 days a year. VRMA has been in direct communication with D.C. Council staff and other industry stakeholders, the ordinance is being pushed back until the fall and is undergoing a major re-write. (Voice your support for vacation rentals in Washington D.C.)

    Toronto: The forty five-member city council is proposing to “legalize” homsharing and implement an outright ban on second home rentals throughout the city. Editorials and community surveys do not show support for this proposal, however, the council intends to move forward with a vote in the 4th quarter of 2017. (Sign our Toronto petition)

    Michigan: The Michigan Legislature has a statewide preemption bill in committee. The bill would reaffirm that vacation rentals are residential activities and specifically states that they are not commercial entities. The bill provides vacation rentals protections from localities, by preventing their ability to outright ban the industry. Communities will continue to have regulatory authority in all other aspects of regulation. The bill, introduced by the Michigan Association of Realtors, will likely see movement in the fall. (Voice your support for vacation rentals in Michigan)

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