Thousands of Vancouverites to sublet apartments over Christmas period

Airbnb has made it easy, but are you willing to break the law for $70 a night?

December 2, 2015

By Jenni Elliott

We all know Vancouver is split into two types of people: those who go to Hawaii for Christmas every year and those who don’t. For the fortunate flock who don’t have to visit relatives in Ontario, and instead head south each winter, the Airbnb model has made it easy to pull in a few extra bucks to put towards rent while your apartment is lying empty.

Your $1800-per-month apartment should bring you in a tidy couple of hundred bucks a night, right? Wrong.

Due to increased hosts (the term used for those trying to sublet their apartment) over the festive season, it really is a tourists’ market. The average Airbnb price per night for the Metro Vancouver area is $120; but for those offering slightly more than a “cozy mattress on our music room floor” ($20/ night) and slightly less than a First-Shaughnessy mansion ($1,516/night), you’re looking at bringing in roughly $70 per night.

Why so low? You’re joining 2,640 (as of June 1) fellow Vancouverites trying to do exactly the same thing. Aside from a measly profit margin, tenants subletting without their landlord’s permission are risking eviction, or so says Landlord BC.

Besides convincing your landlord that unapproved strangers coming and going in your apartment building is a good thing, persuading your landlord to agree to short-term sublets may include asking them to break the law. The City of Vancouver forbids short term rentals—defined as 30 days or less—unless the dwelling is licensed as a hotel or a B&B.

Nonetheless, Airbnb has revealed nearly 550,000 travellers stayed in Airbnb listings in over 190 countries last New Year’s Day. Aaron Zifkin, country manager for Airbnb Canada, expects another buzzing year for Vancouverites: “Our host community in Vancouver is expecting another busy holiday travel season as they welcome guests from across Canada and around the globe.”

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