Tougher rules against short-term rentals may be coming in West Kelowna.
Council this week told staff to prepare a report on the prevalence of illegal rentals offered through online services such as Airbnb and what, if any changes in regulation are required to curb the practice.
Current municipal rules prohibiting rentals of most West Kelowna residential properties for less than 30 days don't work, council heard from Richard and Debby Gill.
The properties generate dozens of complaints concerning noise, parking, and garbage, the Gills say, yet bylaw officers currently lack the means to effectively enforce the regulations.
Among other things, the Gills suggest substantially boosting the fine from $500. "That is seen as just the cost of doing business for these operators," Richard Gill said.
Coun. Rick de Jong said the Gills had raised an important issue that should be addressed.
"I feel that this council needs to discuss Airbnbs. Do we want them? Do we not want them? And if we don't want them, what are we going to do about them? Because they exist in abundance," de Jong said.
"I don't think all short-term rentals are bad," said Coun. Jayson Zilkie, saying some homeowners use them as a secondary revenue stream when they're away.
Mayor Gord MIlsom said West Kelowna could, as the review is undertaken, look at options tried by other municipalities to regulate short-term rentals.