Skip to main content

Guests with suspected gang ties using short-term rentals in B.C. community, RCMP warn

(Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)

Short-term rental hosts in Prince George, B.C., have been urged to "exercise caution" following reports of gangsters booking stays – and in some cases refusing to vacate the properties.

The Prince George RCMP said there have been several incidents over recent months in which short-term rental hosts have discovered their guests were involved in gang activity.

Cpl. Jennifer Cooper, spokesperson for the detachment, said in some cases the alleged gangsters have stayed past their check-out date, or otherwise broke the terms of the rental agreement, creating tense situations for the hosts involved.

"They do live a violent lifestyle if they're involved in gang activity," Cooper said. "So it's not someone the average citizen is maybe used to dealing with, or has the tools and resources to deal with, and that's when police have to get involved."

The warning comes weeks before the B.C. government's Short-Term Accommodations Act – which creates stricter rules for hosts of Airbnb, VRBO and other short-term rental properties – is scheduled to take effect across the province.

The legislation includes a principal residence requirement for short-term rentals, meaning people will only be able to rent out the home where they live for the majority of the year. Renting out one secondary suite within a principal residence will also be allowed.

Cooper noted there are added risks to renting part of your primary residence to a gang affiliate.

"What we want people to be considering mostly is the level of violence that we see centred around those involved in criminal gang activity," she added. "If that's happening in your basement suite, that's going to add quite a bit of stress to you and your family life."

Prince George RCMP recommended hosts take extra precautions before accepting bookings, which could include checking if the prospective renter has a "history with the online platform," and if so, whether they have a positive rating.

The RCMP also encouraged hosts to search the renter's name on B.C.'s Court Services Online, which could reveal a criminal record.

Renters offering to pay with "large sums of cash," particularly for one or two months up front, is also considered a red flag, Cooper said. Top Stories

'Rust' armourer gets 18 months in prison for fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin on set

A movie weapons supervisor was sentenced to 18 months in prison in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin on the set of the Western film "Rust," during a hearing Monday in which tearful family members and friends gave testimonials that included calls for justice and a punishment that would instill greater accountability for safety on film sets.

Donald Trump hush money trial, explained

All of Donald Trump's trials and the characters involved make for a complicated legal mess, particularly when the four criminal cases are added to Trump's civil liability for defamation and sexual misconduct and for business fraud. Here's what to know to get up to speed on this first criminal trial, starting April 15, 2024.

Here's what to expect in the 2024 federal budget

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will be presenting the 2024 federal budget on Tuesday, revealing how the federal Liberal government intends to balance the nearly $40 billion in pre-announced new spending with her vow to remain fiscally prudent.

Prince Harry in legal setback about security protection in U.K.

Prince Harry's fight for police protection in the U.K. received another setback on Monday, when a judge rejected his request to appeal an earlier ruling upholding a government panel's decision to limit his access to publicly funded security after giving up his status as a working member of the royal family.

Stay Connected