Skip to content

Public input sought on Vernon short-term rentals

City looks to tweak current regulations with month-long round of public engagement
The City of Vernon will look for public feedback as it contemplates regulations to short-term rentals in the city.. (File photo)

The City of Vernon is taking a long look at short-term rental (STR) accommodations.

Council voted unanimously Monday, June 27, to a staff recommendation to engage the public on short-term rentals through the month of July.

Those results plus an amendment to the city’s Good Neighbour Bylaw would be brought before council in August, and should the first two readings of the bylaw amendment be passed, a public hearing on the matter would be set for September.

The July public engagement – the first of its kind since May 2020 – would include a survey to stakeholders in the local tourism sector, including STR operators, and a digital open house on for the public.

According to an analytics website, Vernon currently has 274 STR units listed online but the number is likely higher as not all short-term rentals are advertised.

“While STRs are playing an important role in Vernon’s tourism industry, there have also been complaints from residents regarding noise, parking and other nuisances,” wrote Barbara Everdene, long-range planner in a report to council.

READ MORE: Party house shut down in Vernon, owners fined $15,000

In 2021, there were 49 complaints related to STR operations, one per cent of the approximately 6,000 bylaw complaints received last year.

The City of Vernon has a Good Neighbour Bylaw in place to address some of these complaints. But with a vacancy rate of 0.7 per cent in Vernon and rising rental unit prices, there is concern that the growing STR industry is reducing the availability of long-term rental housing in the community.

The last public survey conducted in May 2020 on brought in 180 responses. Seven per cent identified themselves as STR operators; 42 per cent said they lived near an STR in Vernon. Of the 105 open-ended responses, six per cent wanted a full ban on STRs; nine per cent wanted no regulation whatsoever; and 30 per cent were in support of STRs as long as they’re regulated and enforced by the city.

The city has developed five guiding principles for the approach of regulating STRs in Vernon:

1. Mitigate the impacts of STRs on the long-term rental housing supply to support the community’s need for affordable housing;

2. Promote peaceful residential neighbourhoods and limit nuisance from STRs;

3. Maintain vibrant and safe residential neighbourhoods;

4. Promote equity among tourism accommodation providers; and

5. Support the needs of a vibrant local tourism industry.

The quintet of principles raised the eyebrows of Mayor Victor Cumming. He told council one of the biggest concerns he’s heard from his time in office is that when you have a short-term rental, the benefits go to the owner of the property, and the costs go to the neighbours.

“So they privatize the benefit and the public adheres all the costs,” said Cumming. “We haven’t come up with any kind of process that allows the public to say, ‘this isn’t working.’”

While he is looking forward to the public’s comments, Cumming said he was interested in seeing how staff plans to “promote peaceful resident neighbourhoods and limit nuisance” from STRs.

READ MORE: Okanagan becomes ‘film centre’ as 16 movies shot locally in 2022

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers draw Bulldogs, Rivermen for Chilliwack Showcase Event

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
Read more