LETTER: Access to housing is much more important than short-term rentals

Make your voice heard at city hall on Monday, June 25

Not too long ago, people would rent out rooms, or their basement suite to bring in some extra income. They would sublet their homes if they went away for long periods. Investors would buy houses as rental properties. An increasing number of people are moving away from doing this, because Airbnb is more profitable. Although this time of the year is usually an OK time to find rentals in town, I’m hearing that it is worse than ever. In Nelson, there is a cap of 110 year-round short-term rental permits and 40 summer permits. In order to get a year-long permit, it has to be the owner’s primary residence, although there are currently no restrictions as to how many days per year you can rent out your home. The city is looking at a proposal of six months per year. There are currently 56 permits issued, a few more pending approval, and almost all of them are year-long. This means that there is still room for twice that number in our tight rental market. Tourism is good for the city, but making sure our people have access to housing should be a top priority, for the sake of our community, for the sake of humanity. Everywhere, cities are trying to regain control of their housing situation as short-term rentals have taken a hold of their communities. Airbnb is now a big corporation, actively trying to prevent cities from implementing restrictions on short-term rentals. In Europe, they are teaming up with the EU in the name of global economy. They are driven by money, not community values. We have to protect our town. In order to regain control, San Francisco now restricts short-term rentals to 60 days per year, total, whether it is a room in your home or your entire house while you’re away. In London it’s three months. On Monday, June 25th at 1:00, the city has a meeting to review the situation on short-term rentals in town. There will be time allowed at the beginning of the meeting for people to voice their concerns.

Caroline Giguère,

Nelson

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