The Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) is reminding the public of the rules around its inventory after a resident-restricted unit appeared on short-term rental website Airbnb.
WHA staff routinely scan short-term rental sites as a means of enforcing its resident-restricted covenants, said WHA general manager Marla Zucht.
The property in question was immediately recognizable to WHA staff, and had even been reviewed by visitors who had rented it, Zucht said.
"We contacted the occupant immediately and just said this is absolutely not allowed, this is an illegal use of your housing, it's in breach of the resident-restricted housing covenants... and you need to immediately remove the listing, and in fact return any of the revenues or proceeds from the rentals," she said.
The tenant pleaded ignorance and agreed to return $2,500 in rental revenue, which Zucht said will be put into a new emergency fund for WHA tenants.
Zucht said it isn't common for WHA inventory to end up on Airbnb, but the WHA wanted to get the message out that its covenants are being enforced.
"We just wanted to raise awareness or remind the community that we are constantly enforcing this and monitoring this within the resident-restricted inventory," she said.
The WHA does its enforcement in many different ways, including tips from neighbours and through its confidential reporting tool at www.whistlerhousing.ca/comments.asp.
A spokesperson for the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) said it is concerned about this case, as the municipality has invested heavily in the development of resident-restricted housing through the WHA.
"Illegal nightly rentals impact not only the local housing inventory, but also municipal taxation, parking, noise, and garbage in residential areas," a statement from the RMOW said.
"The municipality will continue to monitor the issue of illegal nightly rentals and collaborate with partners including the WHA and Tourism Whistler to understand the scope and impact of the situation. The RMOW will also continue to enforce against illegal nightly rentals and encourage members of the public to report any illegal activities to the Bylaw Department."
Whistler bylaw services can be reached by phone at 604-935-8280 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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