Vacation rental owners who intend to follow the letter of the law in rural areas can expect to receive a discount for doing so.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is close to finalizing the last details of a new policy that will require homeowners in rural areas to have a temporary use permit to legally operate their vacation rental properties.
Staff recommended a $700 charge for each new permit to cover costs, such as workers’ time needed to assess requests and notify neighbours, but the board deemed the charge too rich.
“I think it’s cost prohibitive and nobody’s going to do this for vacation rentals,” Naramata Director Karla Kozakevich said of the proposal at a committee meeting last week.
She noted rental owners she’s spoken to view the temporary use permits as similar to a business licence, which would cost them just $250 in neighbouring Penticton.
“We did all this work to come up with TUPs for vacation rentals and people aren’t going to apply for it if they have to pay $700 and then $350 to renew it,” Kozakevich said.
Tom Siddon, the director for Okanagan Falls-Kaleden, suggested the RDOS instead kick off the program by offering new permits at $350 each for the first 18 months, likely beginning next year.
He said the cost of processing the applications, which will require board approval, would be reduced by doing them in bulk.
“Let’s see how it goes, because, frankly, at $700… it’s not going to fly with a lot of people,” Siddon said.
The committee agreed unanimously to his proposal.
RDOS staff has been working on developing rules around temporary use permits since 2012, after the local government lost a court case that revealed it had limited ability to police nuisance vacation rentals that were the subject of complaints from neighbours.