In a significant development for the campground and outdoor hospitality industry in British Columbia (Canada), the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association (BCLCA) has clarified the impact of the new Short-term Rental Accommodations Act on campgrounds and RV parks.
This comes after a direct inquiry to the Hon. Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing, with the Housing Policy Branch providing a detailed response.
As per BCLCA’s newsletter, the Act, primarily aimed at addressing the housing crisis in British Columbia by regulating short-term rentals, will not encompass hotels and motels.
According to Hon. Kahlon, this decision stems from the understanding that these establishments are not intended for long-term housing. The principal residence requirement under the Act is designed to support accommodation facilities that have been integral to communities, particularly those reliant on tourism.
Kahlon’s response also highlighted that upcoming regulations under the Act are set to exempt vehicles, including recreational vehicles (RVs), and temporary shelters such as tents and yurts. This exemption is a crucial aspect for the campground and RV park operators, as it allows them to continue their operations without the constraints of the new legislation.
British Columbia’s housing shortage, particularly in long-term rentals, has been exacerbated by the rise of short-term rental of entire homes. Data indicates that over 16,000 homes are used predominantly as short-term rentals throughout the year, impacting the availability of affordable long-term rental options.
Local governments have attempted to regulate these short-term rentals, but enforcing bylaws has proven challenging. They have sought additional support and tools from the Provincial government to effectively manage this sector.
The Act’s primary objectives include empowering local governments with stronger enforcement capabilities for short-term rental bylaws, converting short-term rental units back to the long-term housing market, and establishing a provincial role in regulating short-term rentals.
The Act’s scope covers short-term rentals offered to the public, including those hosted on platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, and FlipKey, as well as listings on web forums and classified ads in newspapers.
However, the Act will not apply to reserve lands, Nisga’a Lands, or the Treaty Lands of a Treaty First Nation, unless these entities opt into the legislation.
For campground and outdoor hospitality operators in BC, this development is a welcome relief. The exemption means that campgrounds and RV parks can continue to operate without the additional regulatory burden imposed on short-term rental properties. This is particularly beneficial for those in tourism-driven communities, where such accommodations are a vital part of the local economy.
The exemption also provides an opportunity for these operators to capitalize on the growing demand for alternative lodging options. With the increasing popularity of glamping and RV travel, campgrounds and RV parks are well-positioned to attract visitors seeking unique outdoor experiences.
The exemption of campgrounds and RV parks from the Short-term Rental Accommodations Act represents a positive outcome for the outdoor hospitality industry in British Columbia. It not only alleviates potential regulatory challenges for operators but also reinforces the importance of these accommodations in supporting the province’s tourism sector. As BC continues to navigate its housing crisis, this exemption ensures that the campground and RV park industry remains a thriving and integral part of the community landscape.