01/11/2017 14:08 EST | Updated 01/12/2018 00:12 EST

Richmond to enforce ban on short-term Airbnb rentals, says mayor

The City of Richmond, B.C. is still working out how it will enforce a ban on unlicensed short-term housing rentals — such as those found on Airbnb — after a surprising vote earlier this week.

City council voted unanimously in favour of the ban on Monday evening, despite a report from city staff last week that recommended regulating the short-term rentals instead of banning them outright.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie said the move came after council heard significant public input about the negative impact short-term rentals are having on Richmond neighbourhoods.

"We said as a council, okay, we want to move forward," Brodie said.

"We're going to prohibit these, and we want greater rigour around the bylaws that will talk about enforcement and provide a better program in terms of how we go forward."

He noted that the city is not banning Airbnb itself, just short-term rentals of the kind Airbnb is known for listing.

The ban applies to rentals of less than 30 days, but Brodie said exceptions will be made for licensed business such as bed and breakfasts.

Enforcement mechanisms to be determined

Brodie said morning that the city still needs to determine how it will enforce the ban, but it will rely to some degree on complaints from residents along with "proactive" enforcement approaches, such as hiring more bylaw officers.

"We've already added two or three officers to this situation and I expect that we will have some more," Brodie said this morning.

Council had initially proposed to formally consult the public about the ban, but Brodie said council elected to skip formal consultations as they had already heard from numerous residents about the adverse effects short-term rentals are having.

Brodie said residents have complained about people coming and going at all hours, parking problems, noise, and owners renting out multiple properties that are not their primary residence.

With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition.