Halt on rental rezoning making some buyers cautious

A map on AirBnB shows rentals available at Sun Peaks.

A moratorium by Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) on rezoning properties to RS1-A, which allows nightly rentals, has some buyers looking to purchase investment rental properties using caution.

The halt on new rezoning applications came on July 4 after council received complaints about issues with nightly rentals in neighbourhoods.

It essentially places any property owners looking to rent out their residentially zoned home nightly for the upcoming winter in limbo, as council started requiring the short-term rental zoning in 2015. Since the rezoning process began around one and half years ago, many homes have been successfully rezoned.

The municipal council also hired an independent contractor in January to assist with locating and cracking down on short-term rentals.

A letter sent to council by Maureen and Bryan Walker described issues they’ve had in the Lookout Ridge area where they live full time.

They stated homes meant for two to six people are regularly occupied by more than 10 which means guests are parking on streets and undeveloped lots. They also said the situation causes emotional stress on residents who expected to live in a quiet residential area instead of busier tourist area.

They added the process of spot rezoning didn’t allow for real feedback from residents as many lots are undeveloped so there is limited notification and objection.

In response to this letter and similar complaints from others, no new applications will be accepted for the time being.

SPRM chief administrative officer Rob Bremner said while the moratorium is in place homeowners are still able to rent their properties long term to seasonal workers or
other residents.

“The community is changing significantly. It’s way different than it was five years ago,”
he said.

He said if and when the moratorium is removed will depend on community feedback and welcomed residents to write in or attend a public meeting so councillors can hear from
both sides.

A public information session will be held on Sept. 16 at Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Hotel on short-term rentals on both Burfield Dr. and throughout the community.

Lark Frolek-Dale, owner of Remax Alpine Resort Realty Corp., said she has heard from new owners who are glad they didn’t purchase a home that wasn’t already zoned RS1-A.

“It’s definitely a quality buyers are looking for. It has value,” she said.

But she added this year she has seen more buyers looking to move here permanently for the lifestyle rather than to make money on a rental property.

“There are a lot more buyers coming into the resort right now that don’t have the intention of renting. More people are moving here for the lifestyle,” she said. “More and more are buying residential homes for their personal use.”