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P.G. Mounties urge caution as short-term rental regs set to change

Unknowingly offering short-term rentals to criminals can lead to trouble later
Logo and lights graphic by RCMP.

Don’t bring unsavoury people into your primary residence on a short-term rental.

That’s the message from the Prince George RCMP as legislation around rentals are set to change in B.C. this spring. The changes will only allow short-term rentals to occur in a landlord’s primary residence such as a basement suite or a room or an accessory dwelling unit on the property.

Cpl. Jenn Cooper, media relations officer for the Prince George RCMP, said Mounties have had instances over the last six to eight months in the northern city where landlords with short-term rentals have found their clients to be involved in criminal gang activity.

“These are legitimate bad guy like like you see in the movies,” Cooper told Black Press. “You don’t want them in your basement.”

Cooper said these types of individuals “bring a level of danger and violence that the average person would find very hard to deal with.”

She noted it becomes difficult for the landlord to evict these types of clients off the property once they are already in the home and either stay past their contract date or are found to be in violation of the rental terms. The resolution usually requires police involvement at that point. The situation would be even more difficult if they were in your primary residence, particularly since short-term rentals are not covered under the Residential Tenancy Act.

Some things to keep in mind when accepting a short-term rental agreement are:

Does the person have history with the online platform you are using? If so, is it positive?

Try doing an internet search of the name they have provided, including Court Services Online.

Do not accept large sums of cash in payment for the short-term rental contract.

Be wary of people wanting to pay for one or more months up front, even more so if they offer to pay in cash.

More information on B.C.’s upcoming short-term rental accommodations legislation can be found at this link: here .

Data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shows Prince George had a vacancy rate of 3.7 per cent in 2022 and 2.8 per cent in 2023 – disqualifying the city from an exemption to the legislation.

The regulations and responsibilities under the proposed act are expected to come into effect at different times over the next two years through a phased approach.

The legislation is being brought in to help deal with the province’s housing crisis.

According to government data, more than 16,000 entire homes are being used as short-term rentals for the majority of the year in B.C. making it more challenging to find affordable long-term rentals.

Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

A desire to travel led me to a full-time photographer position at the Williams Lake Tribune in B.C.’s interior.
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