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Short-term rental rules may not affect Okanagan regional district

Owners of property at La Casa have concerns over new rules
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La Casa Resort on Westside Road is home to 500 cottages providing short-term occupancy accommodation. (Google Street Maps)

Individuals who own short-term property rentals within certain areas of the Regional District Central Okanagan (RDCO) likely need not worry about new provincial legislation regulating their use.

“It’s my understanding right now that the C5 zoning is currently not affected by the provincial legislation on short-term rentals,” said Brittany Nichols, manager of development services at RDCO.

The C5 zoning allows campground, cabin, and motel-commercial use and applies to communities such as La Casa on Westside Road, which is home to 500 cottages.

One La Casa property owner contacted Black Press to express her concern about the new provincial legislation.

“We all purchased in La Casa under the proviso that the zoning protected short-term rental accommodation and the ability to allow us to share our home with many guests and enjoy our cottage as a vacation home from time to time,” said Melissa Watkins.

Nichols added that the provincial government is looking at implementing a number of exemptions to its legislation.

“They are they’re looking at exempting regional district electoral areas.”

Exactly what the province has planned is not known as the regulations have not yet been made public.

“But a lot of these regulations are focused for urban areas such as Kelowna and West Kelowna,” Nichols said.

The phrase short-term rentals is not actually found in the RDCO’s zoning bylaws and is not a permitted use.

“However, short-term occupancy accommodation (is),” Nichols explained. “The reason I say that is people are getting confused between municipal governments, and regional districts or other local governments that don’t typically regulate short-term rentals.”

Short-term occupancy accommodation is permitted at La Casa for periods of less than one month.

The province plans to implement a principal residence requirement for short-term rentals by May 2024.

The new rules will allow renting a main residence, basement, or secondary suite on a property where the owner lives a majority of the time.

More information about short-term accommodation use within the RDCO is available on its website.

Questions can be directed to development services staff at planning@rdco.com or by calling 250-469-6227.

READ MORE: Early start scheduled for public hearing on Kelowna short-term rentals

READ MORE: B.C.’s new short-term rental regulations approved after colourful debate



Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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