Denman Island governing body takes legal action against short-term vacation rental

The landlord of a short-term rental on Denman Island will have to change rental policies, after legal action was taken by the Denman Island Local Trust Committee (DILTC).

The DILTC took legal action against the owner of a property located on East Road that the committee says was operating an unlawful short-term vacation rental.

The legal action came about after the DILTC received complaints about the operation of an illegal visitor accommodation on East Road that was impacting neighbours. Attempts by enforcement staff to communicate with the property owner and gain compliance with the Denman Island Land Use Bylaw were unsuccessful.

“Denman’s regulations allow short-term commercial visitor accommodations such as bed and breakfasts, when there is an operator living on the site,” said Sue Ellen Fast, chair of the DILTC. “The Local Trust Committee encourages people interested in hosting home-based guest accommodation to pursue these kinds of options. Renting a whole house or cottage to paying guests is not legal on Denman.”

In response to the legal action, the owner has agreed to an interlocutory court order — known as a consent order — and will only rent their property to guests if a resident is present. The DILTC is hopeful this step will address community concerns and avoid the need to engage in future court proceedings.

Denman Island’s regulations for vacation accommodation were developed in consultation with the community. They were designed to maintain a balance between home businesses that accommodate sustainable tourism while ensuring housing stock is available for local long-term rental.

The DILTC is concerned about the effect of illegal short-term vacation rentals – which are often done through AirBnB and VRBO – on rural character and rental housing stock. The DILTC will continue to direct enforcement staff to encourage property owners who have unlawful short-term vacation rentals to voluntary comply with the land use bylaw, (available at https://bit.ly/2PuxJmm), and will continue to consider legal action against those who resist alternative enforcement efforts.

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