Should You Airbnb or RIF Your Rental Property?


If you have a short-term rental property in Vancouver, should your Airbnb it, or RIF it?

In light of the new regulations that have been introduced surrounding short-term rentals in the city, we recommend that you explore all your options to ensure that you remain legally compliant.

To RIF it?

First things first, you might like some clarification as to what, exactly, we mean by RIF it.

RIF it – to rent a property for 30 days or more via Rent it Furnished (RIF), a Vancouver-based company specializing in short-term and long-term luxury furnished and unfurnished rentals.

“I heard about the new restrictions surrounding short-term rentals in Vancouver, so I took my property off Airbnb and decided to RIF it instead” is a sentence we have heard frequently as new regulations come in effect in many major cities.

Now that’s settled, let’s explore what it takes to Airbnb your property in Vancouver, and what is means to RIF it.

Airbnb it?

There are a number of platforms that facilitate short-term rentals, with the main one undoubtedly being Airbnb.

However, Airbnb has come under fire from a wide cross-section of society. All across North America, everyone from hotel owners to concerned neighbours have been calling for restrictions to be imposed on short-term rentals. Many cities have responded to the calls, including Vancouver.

As of April 19 2018, short-term rentals will be allowed in Vancouver – but only under very specific circumstances. So, you can rent your property for 30 consecutive days or less, as long as you comply with the following criteria:

  • It’s your principal residence
  • It’s a legal dwelling
  • You have a short-term rental business license
  • Your strata bylaws permit short-term rentals (if applicable)

Looking at this list, you may feel your only stumbling block is the short-term business license, which has been created especially for the introduction of these regulations.

In order to be eligible, you have to comply with rigorous fire and safety regulations, provide 24/7 contact information, and demonstrate that parking will be restricted to the property, amongst other things. You can apply for a short-term business license online from April 18 2018, and once you have your license number, it must be displayed on all your listings.

A failure to adhere to any of the new regulations will see the owner receive a fine. It has been reported that an enforcement officer and inspector will be hired to ensure compliance and investigate complaints.

Or, RIF it?

All of this might sound like a bit of a headache. You’ll have to complete a lot of paperwork in order to Airbnb your property by the book, and if you fail to do it properly, you risk facing a large fine.

Which is why a lot of property owners in Vancouver are taking their rentals off sites such as Airbnb and are instead asking us to rent their property on a short-term, monthly basis to ensure the rental is entirely legal and above board. In other words, they’re choosing to RIF it.

Using a professional has a number of advantages, as Erika Weimer, President and Founder of Rent it Furnished explains:

“We have already seen an increase in owners deciding to RIF their furnished rentals and move away from the daily rental model. It has also been interesting to hear that over time, owners realize that daily rentals are very time consuming, stressful and risky to manage. Hiring a professional to deal with the legalities and the management of these rentals is proving to be a more profitable option.”

The new regulations are already changing the face of the Vancouver rental market, and the fallout is sure to divide opinions. If you have something to say on the issue, we invite you to join the conversation on our twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels using the hashtag #RIFit.

Ultimately whatever your thoughts, the fact of the matter is these new regulations are here, and they are now in force. This means that if you have a short-term rental and you are yet to take action, you need to do so, and quickly.

RIF your short-term rental

If you are concerned about the new regulations and would like help with your short-term rental property in Vancouver, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We can advise how to legally rent your property on a short-term basis, and through our tenant placement service can help you find the right tenants. If required, our property management team in Vancouver can also take on the day-to-day management of the rental.

Alternatively, if you are looking for investment real estate in Vancouver, perhaps with a view to renting it out on a short-term or long-term basis, our investment realty team can assist.

Written by Lottie Laken