A resort municipality on Vancouver Island is cracking down on the proliferation of short-term rentals in residential neighbourhoods as it grapples with a housing shortage.
Members of the Ucluelet, B.C., council voted earlier this month to amend a bylaw to limit new bed and breakfasts to three guestrooms per building and a maximum of two guests per room.
Guestrooms are prohibited from having fully equipped kitchenettes and guests must use the home’s main door rather than a separate entry.
The amended bylaw also mandates that a bed and breakfast must be operated by the property’s primary resident as the municipality hopes to promote the “traditional B&B” over short-term rentals on websites like Airbnb and Vrbo.
“Limiting the proliferation of B&Bs in residential neighbourhoods is one step that Ucluelet can take to improve housing access and affordability,” the municipality says on its webpage explaining the bylaw changes.
Municipal leaders voted 3-2 in favour of the amendments during a special meeting of council on Sept. 6.
Ucluelet, which is 40 kilometres southeast of the popular tourist town of Tofino, B.C., has seen an explosion in online short-term rentals even as the region struggles to house its year-round residents and seasonal workers.
Many of those online rentals cropped up to exploit “a loophole into the commercial vacation accommodation market,” according to the municipality.