I am in receipt today of a menacing letter from the City of Victoria Bylaw & Licensing Services Department accusing me of running a short term vacation rental. This is the second such letter I've received. After the first, I promptly contacted them and informed them that while I am indeed advertising on vacation rental sites, that my ads explicitly state that bookings of less than 30 days will not be considered. They were confused and asked if they could confer and call back. They called back and informed me that one of the sites (ironically a more obscure one), you could still inquire to book for a shorter time period.
Rather than go into the fact that they are on shaky ground by trying to regulate advertising, versus actual enforcement of an infraction (i.e., catching someone red-handed renting short term), I acquiesced and changed the minimum booking dates. I've not found this to be too much of a hinderance, as I'm just finishing up a one month booking, about to host another and then I've booked the unit out to a couple from April to August.
Fast forward to today: "Please advised that if you are advertising your rental unit but have disabled your bookings, you are still considered to be advertising, which may result in enforcement."
Except that in the Short Term Rental Regulation Bylaw, a short term rental means, "the renting of a dwelling, or any part of it, for a period of less than 30 days and includes vacation rentals." The bylaw also does not provide a further definition for what constitutes "vacation rentals."
Therefore, the bylaw does not apply because I don't meet the definition. They are completely ultra vires their authority by trying to suggest that I could be subject to enforcement action merely by advertising something that is not a short term rental on those websites. Indeed, they're coming perilously close to infringing my Charter rights under s.2.
I will report back tomorrow after I've spoken to these misguided fools.