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Nov 10, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – November 10, 2023



Last summer I was walking my son’s dog near his home in Kelowna when I stumbled upon a massive garage sale coordinated by six university students who had recently moved into a rental house. Seems the property’s former tenants not only bolted, but they left all of their junk behind for the landlord and new renters to dispose of.

The students told me that the previous occupants were a nightmare and hadn’t paid rent in months…likely why they vanished overnight. Unfortunately, the landlord was left with lost income, property damage, and extensive cleanup of the garbage and stuff the former tenants chose not to take.

I’ve heard similar stories many times from friends who own rental properties. Evicting tenants for good reason is nearly impossible given provincial regulations that tend to favour renters as opposed to landlords even if the occupants are causing problems or are months behind in rent payments. 

Dealing with rogue tenants was a specific topic at the BC Lodging & Campgrounds (BCLCA) Ideas Forum this week in Parksville where campground and RV park operators spoke of their challenges with guests who breach their 180 day limit for occupancy, refuse to leave when asked, and instead file a complaint with the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) claiming that because they’ve been on the site for six months or more, they are now considered permanent residents and not visitors…which creates a whole new set of problems for operators.

Many campgrounds operators lamented about having tenants well past their six-month allowance which shifts the regulatory landscape from the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) when it comes to rights of the operator versus occupant. In other words, it becomes increasingly more difficult to force the tenant to leave even if they are blatantly breaching local bylaws or campground rules. As I alluded to earlier, the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) tends to side with renters in the majority of disputes, which makes operators even more wary of who they offer sites to for an extended stay of up to half a year.

At the forum, lawyer Lisa Mackie provided excellent advice on what RV Park owners need to do vis-a-vis contracts or agreements with campers at the onset of their term to avoid these kinds of disputes.

Similarly, now that the new short-term rental (STR) legislation has passed, I am increasingly hearing from property owners all over the province that are deeply concerned about housing permanent tenants instead of transient visitors because of situations like the one I described earlier with the Kelowna university students. By all accounts, the owners claim the Residential Tenancy Act actually dissuades them from entering into long-term agreements for fear of conflicts with bad tenants or falling offside with the RTA.

To be fair, the majority of renters are good, law-abiding citizens that pay their lease on time, maintain their unit, and have good relationships with their neighbours and landlord. But I’ve heard enough horror stories recently and over the years to compel me to further explore whether TIABC needs to advocate for more balance between the rights of property owners versus tenants, especially given that new short-term rental rules will force some landlords to revert to long-term rentals or leave their units vacant. In other words, we may need to address related issues in order for the new STR legislation to work as intended.

To be sure, many advocates on both sides (i.e. landlords & tenants) have been deeply entrenched in this issue for years but there may be support that TIABC can offer on behalf of the tourism sector given the new STR rules. If you have recommendations on what policy or regulation changes need to be considered in the context of the RTA, feel free to share them with me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Aside from the six cars parked on the front lawn, the student house in Kelowna looks decidedly cleaner these days. Admittedly I helped them dispose of some junk by buying a couple of old wooden paddles and tennis rackets that I use as décor in my den. At the very least, the tenants and landlord appear to be content for the foreseeable future with no need for more disposal bins or another garage sale…at least not before the school year ends.

Walt Judas


Related Posts

TIABC Director Dennis Innes (VCC Dean of Hospitality, Culinary & Baking) and CEO Walt Judas joined term 8 hospitality students, industry leaders, recent graduates, and faculty for a Philosopher's Cafe to discuss the state of the tourism and hospitality workforce this week at VCC's downtown Vancouver campus.
TIABC CEO Walt Judas with Tourism Abbotsford’s Barb Roberts & Clare Seeley, as well as VCM’s Chad Wetsch on a site visit to a land-based Tilapia fish farm owned and operated by the Sumas First Nation who are expanding their Fraser Valley holdings with ambitious plans to bolster Abbotsford’s tourism infrastructure and experiences.
As he does regularly, TIABC CEO Walt Judas recently presented to tourism students and faculty at @westerncommunitycollege's (WCC) Surrey campus, focussing on industry issues and TIABC's advocacy priorities. Walt also serves on WCC's Program Advisory Committee (PAC), as well as the PACs of @capilanou and @myvcc.
🍽️ What an incredible farm-to-table experience! Backyard Farm Proprietor and Chef Chris Van Hooydonk welcomed TOTA's Board of Directors and guests Walt Judas, Richard Porges (DBC CEO) and Scott Fraser (DBC Chair) for a memorable meal in Osoyoos this week.

Chris's culinary philosophy focuses on utilizing the freshest, locally sourced ingredients to create unique, tailored menus for each visit. With a commitment to true hospitality, the experience is marked by attentive service and a passion for showcasing the beauty of the South Okanagan.

Also pictured, Destination Osoyoos Executive Director Kelley Glazer, TOTA CEO Ellen Walker Matthews, and TOTA's Jane Parece. 

A huge thank you to Chris for providing such a delightful culinary experience! 🌿
🎉 Highlights from the 2024 BC Tourism Industry Conference in Victoria! 🌟

Close to 450 tourism industry professionals convened in Victoria last week for the annual 2024 BC Tourism Industry Conference, hosted by TIABC. Industry leaders representing businesses, sector associations, regional and community destination management organizations, First Nations, federal, provincial and municipal governments, as well as non-government organizations gathered for the two-day event. 

Anchored by the conference theme - Shaping Our Future Together - the outstanding program provided both a knowledge and skills track via plenary sessions and workshops. Here are just a few highlights:

▪️ Opening keynote speaker Shaun Boothe shared a unique and emotional celebration of some of the world's most influential cultural icons. His energy and messages set the stage for the entire event.

▪️ Hon. Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport kicked off the conference by welcoming delegates and sharing her own personal story of working in BC's tourism industry.

▪️ Plenary Remarks by Hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada: Insights from the Minister of Tourism and Economic Development Agency of Canada highlighted the industry's significance.

▪️TIABC CEO Walt Judas engaged in a compelling conversation with Premier David Eby whose remarks underscored the vital role of the tourism industry in British Columbia, earning him a standing ovation.

▪️ Opening Reception at the Royal BC Museum

A big thank you to all our sponsors for making this event possible! 🙌
Join us in celebrating the remarkable winners of the 2024 BC Tourism Industry Awards Gala presented by @indigenoustourismbc! 🎉✨ 

Ten awards were given out to recognize and celebrate excellence, leadership, and innovation within British Columbia’s tourism and hospitality sector. These awards showcased the province’s most exceptional leaders and positive change-makers this past year.

The winners of the 2024 BC Tourism Industry Awards are:

Business Woman of the Year Award - Sponsored by Prince of Whales
⭐ Winner: Ingrid Jarrett, @bchotelassociation 

Community Contribution & Impact - Sponsored by Tourism Richmond
⭐Winner: @princeofwhaleswhalewatching 

DMO Professional Excellence - Sponsored by BC Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS)
⭐Winner: @visitrichmondbc 

Employees First - Sponsored by go2HR
⭐Winner: @golfbc 

Inclusive and Accessible Tourism Experience - Sponsored by Destination BC
⭐Winner: Vancouver Aquarium

Indigenous Operator or Experience | Sponsored by Indigenous Tourism BC and Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
⭐Winner: @homalcotours

Innovation | Sponsored by Tourism Innovation Lab
⭐Winner: @tourismnewwest 

Remarkable Experience | Sponsored by BC Destination Management Organization Association (BCDMOA)
⭐Winner: @nimmobayresort

Sector Association Excellence Award | Sponsored by Acera Insurance
⭐Winner: Sport Fishing Institute of BC

Sustainability Excellence | Sponsored by Nanaimo Airport
⭐Winner: @40knotswinery 

📸 @arkitekcreative