For several years the city of Kimberley has been grappling with identifying where short term rental accommodations (Air BnBs) are located so that they can be licensed and inspected for fire safety.
A number of goals related to short-term rentals have been identified.
• reduce impacts to housing availability and affordability;
• ensure building and occupant safety;
• reduce STR’s impact on neighborhood character;
• reduce noise, parking and traffic problems and eliminate party houses;
• improve responsiveness to neighbor complaints; and
• support compliant accommodation providers and eliminate non-compliant unsafe or unauthorized accommodation providers.
One of the difficulties is simply identifying where these properties are located. The city’s planning department is suggesting the purchase of software that will track online advertising for short-term rentals.
The software is expensive, costing $20,000 in the first year and $14,000 per year in the ensuing years, but planner Troy Pollock said that those expenses could be offset by fees and fines.
For instance, Fernie has licensing fees for short-term rentals as well as an inspection fee.
Mayor Don McCormick said he supported acquiring the software. He says that given Kimberley’s lack of hotels, these short-term rentals do fill an accommodation need.
He also said that in consulting with other municipalities that have used the software, most of the heavy lifting on identifying properties is done in the first year.
“There may not be a need to have it five years from now,” he said.