Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg

Airbnb, Expedia Opt to Stay in Vancouver Under Restrictive Rules

  • City will ban second homes, commercial property from rentals
  • Home-sharing of principal residences will be authorized

Airbnb Inc. and Expedia Inc.’s HomeAway unit will continue to operate in Vancouver even as the city passes restrictive rules on short-term home rentals amid rising housing prices.

The two companies confirmed in separate statements that the vote, which will be announced later Tuesday, will recognize and regulate home-sharing in Vancouver. “While some families will be excluded from home-sharing we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the city through the regulation process,” said Lindsey Scully, a spokeswoman for closely held Airbnb.

Under the new rules, many Airbnb and HomeAway properties will be banned. Only principal residences -- defined as the place where one lives for the majority of the year, pays bills, cooks meals and receives mail -- can be rented out short-term, according to the proposal on the city’s website. This excludes commercial and investment properties or second homes.

‘‘While this proposal is far from perfect, we remain committed to a solution,” Philip Minardi, a spokesman for Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia, said in a message. “We will continue to work with the city to achieve that end.”

It’s not clear how many of Airbnb and HomeAway’s properties might be ineligible for rental under the new rules. Both companies had opposed Vancouver’s proposal to restrict second homes from being rented out on their platforms.

Vancouver is just one more skirmish in the city-by-city fight, led by San Francisco-based Airbnb, to establish rules that would allow the company to operate profitably while still including some regulations on safety and taxes.

Vancouver has pushed to regulate housing more tightly due to the lack of affordable homes for residents, and public scrutiny has focused on landlords, especially those living abroad, who cash in on investment properties.

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