Do you offer short-term rentals out of your home? Have you ever? Then this survey is for you.
To better understand the rental market in the Sea to Sky Corridor, Tourism Squamish has teamed up with the local Chamber of Commerce to offer an online survey that invites past, current, and future operators of short-term rental units to share their experiences and insights. The goal is to better understand the reasons why people rent units short-term and what they do with those units when they leave the market.
To this end, they’ve hired Politikos Research to conduct the survey. They are currently looking for any residents who have ever rented out a short-term unit, whether it was an apartment, a house, a bedroom in a shared home, a secondary suite, carriage house or accessory dwelling. Anyone considering renting a property short-term in the next two years is also invited to participate.
Anything that is rented out for less than 30 days is considered a short-term rental. Many owners and operators use platforms like Airbnb and VRBO to find guests.
The District of Squamish changed regulations in 2020 to ban the use of secondary suites and carriage houses as short-term rentals. Owners can rent an entire house or apartment as a short-term rental, but only if it is their primary residence. The regulations do allow for bedrooms to be rented in homes shared with the owner, like traditional Bed and Breakfasts, and there are now no limitations on the number of such bedrooms allowed.
“The new regulations were motivated by a wish to protect and increase long-term rentals in Squamish. This is an understandable motivation given the current labour crisis, which is driven by a lack of affordable housing options,” said Louise Walker, executive director of the Squamish Chamber, in a news release.
“However, there is a lack of data to establish whether the new regulations improved the long term rental inventory or whether Squamish simply lost tourism inventory, hence the need for this data collection exercise.”
Tourism Squamish and the Squamish Chamber recently shared an analysis of short-term rental market data from 2016 to 2021, which demonstrated that the largest group of short-term rental owners on Airbnb and other sites made less than $10,000 per year prior to regulations. After the district’s regulations came into effect, this group of lower revenue operators largely exited the market, leading to a shortage of tourism accommodations during the summer peak times.
“Given the low returns that many short-term rental operators were making, we suspect that many operators took part in the tourism accommodation industry for reasons other than maximizing profit,” said Tourism Squamish executive director Lesley Weeks in the release.
“We would like to learn more about people’s motivations and also their experiences with the market and the district’s regulations in order to better understand and engage with short term rental operators and the district on this issue”
The survey will run until May 30 and can be found at www.politikosresearch.ca/str.
*Please note, this story was modified after it was first posted to clarify that the survey is for anyone who ever ran a short-term rental.