Richmond homes being run as hotels, neighbours say
Published Monday, October 17, 2016 4:25PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, October 17, 2016 4:26PM PDT
As the City of Vancouver moves toward licensing short-term home rentals, residents of neighbouring Richmond complain not enough is being done about properties operating as illegal hotels.
While Richmond's regulations only allow homeowners to take in a maximum of two short-term guests at a time, some are renting out nearly a dozen rooms at once in a single property, bringing new guests into the neighbourhood every night.
"My biggest concern is community safety," said Kerry Starchuk, who lives in the Blundell area. "People coming and going, it disrupts your neighbourhood."
The home beside Starchuk's, located on Lancing Road, is one of dozens of unlicensed hotels or guest houses that have been advertised online in the city.
To get a closer look, Richmond News reporter Graeme Wood recently posed as a guest and checked into the property. He was charged a base rate of $49 with an additional $10 cleaning fee, and even subjected to a tax.
An operator at the front desk took his credit card and asked for ID.
"He had a debit machine," Wood told CTV News. "He told another guest he had five of these houses for rent."
When Wood entered the unlicensed hotel, he was surprised to find his room was one of 11 being rented out. There were 19 guests at the property at the time.
The City of Richmond has since shut down the Lancing Road house, but there's no shortage of others.
CTV News visited one such property on Sunnymede Crescent that advertises a 24-hour front desk and six rooms.
The owner, who did not give his name, said he rents out the rooms "just for income." He declined to give a tour of the property to CTV News.
Neighbours aren't the only ones unhappy with the situation; hotels that are subject to taxes and strict regulations don't appreciate the competition from unregulated houses.
The City of Richmond said it's received a spike in complaints about illegal hotels, an issue it promises is being studied.
"We have to have far better control of it," Mayor Malcom Brodie said. "Whether we would have more licensing, wider licensing requirements, I don't know, but certainly there would be something more than there is now."
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Mi-Jung Lee