A new report from short term rental website Airbnb claims the service isn’t contributing to the rental vacancy problem in Vancouver.
But a UBC student who just completed a research project on the rental site says he doesn’t believe the numbers.
The Airnb report says the average host ‘typically’ makes an income of about $6,500 a year by occasionally renting space and using that money to pay for their rent or groceries.
But Iian Marjoribanks who studies housing at UBC says the devil is in the details.
“‘Typical’ means that they are using the median and not the mean average, which is what you would normally use in a report like this. That’s misleading because that means there are a lot of people making very little money and then you have a few people who are making most of the money which is what I found in my research.”
But Marjorbanks says he also has a problem with that stat.
“People are actually taking affordable rental stock off the market and turning them into illegal hotels. So, if the inverse is true and 20% of these units are being listed more than 180 days a year, clearly a lot of the rental housing in Vancouver has been converted into illegal hotels.”
Marjoribanks says it doesn’t matter if people are renting out rooms to afford the cost of living; by putting units on the market through the site, they’re soaking up potential rentals that could go to locals.
Regardless the reason, he’s reminding people, it’s still illegal under Vancouver’s bylaws.