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Local knowledge ...Vancouver accommodation

Nuneaton, United...
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Local knowledge ...Vancouver accommodation
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Looking at accommodation in Vancouver for 5 or 6 nights summer 2022. Family of 4 inc 20yr old and 16 yr old. Have seen private apartment in Abbott Street (688) or should we stick to hotel suites e.g. Times Square or similar? Some reviews re Abbott Street suggest local issues?

Additionally , should we keep hold of rental car for our stay in Vancouver .? Want to see as much of area as we can fit into 4 or 5 full days ie Grouse, Stanley park, Capillano, Downtown, beaches, Granville island etc. We' ll be returning to airport from Vancouver stay.

17 replies to this topic
Cheshire, United...
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We returned our hire car when we arrived in Vancouver. Definitely the right thing to do as we walked everywhere.

We just took a taxi from our hotel back to the airport at end of the trip.

Nuneaton, United...
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Thankyou Spiderdog. The more I think about it the more I think it's pointless keeping the car.

Nanaimo, Canada
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Parking is expensive in Vancouver. But with four of you, the car may be more convenient that using public transit.

But hopefully, by next year, the free shuttle bus up to Grouse and Capilano will be running again. And getting to Granville Island is always fun if you use one of the little ferries, rather than the bus.

Jasper, Canada
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The City of Vancouver has been cracking down on short-term rentals and brought in a bylaw regulating them. It normally doesn't allow the renting of an entire home or apartment (or condo, in this case - googling the address pulls up information about the strata/condo association), other than when the home is someone's permanent residence. In other words, you either share the apartment with the owner, or else s/he is away on vacation, or staying with friends and family during your stay. If the advertising for the rental appears to show a unit that no one actually lives in, that is used only for short term visitor accommodation, then it is very likely not a legal STR. There is apparently a way to look this up on the City of Vancouver website.

The legality or illegality of an STR may not particularly concern you. But if you wind up locked out due to enforcement action, that could be a problem (as in this example: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/airbnb-guest-locked-out-of-suite-by-strata-1.3786500 ) You may be an ideal guest - considerate of the residents and the property, but you have no way of knowing what's happened in the past, and how tolerant the residents are of STR guests in their building.

Vancouver
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The Landis hotel is pretty good, you can get 2 bedrooms and a kitchen.

For me, I would keep the car if I could afford it, easier to get to North Shore and around than taking the bus.

Port Moody, Canada
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I would stick to an apartment hotel such as Times Square Suites rather than an apartment on Abbott St. While there have always been "issues" in the Main and Hastings corridor (known locally as the Downtown East Side) the past year has seen problems magnify and spread exponentially. The area is the epicentre of services for disadvantaged, addicted, homeless. In the past it was sad but not dangerous. Unfortunately that appears to have changed with a reported rise in personal attacks. This may be a short term effect due to the lack of people working and shopping downtown. Areas that were once filled with restaurant goers and shoppers are virtually empty now.

The apartment may be nearer Expo Avenue so slightly out of the Main St area in which case it could be in a better location. Regardless it is still on the eastern edge of downtown and further away from the things you would like to see.

KRP makes an excellent point regarding short term rentals which were problematic before covid and with a lack of housing still an issue in vancouver I doubt the city will ease restrictions.

There are a wide range of suite hotels. My favourite for amenities and location is the Sutton Grand. A 6 minute walk from the Canada Line to get back to the airport and very central. Good kitchens in the suites.

Times Square is on the western edge of town closest to Stanley Park.

The Sylvia hotel actually has a couple fo family suites as does the Blue Horizon. Both are very good non chain hotels.

Sunset Inn and suites is another good value.

With 4 of you I might keep the car for the first day to visit the north shore then I would ditch the car and walk. Vancouver is compact and walkable.

Edited: 01 May 2021, 00:55
Nuneaton, United...
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Thankyou for your honesty and, as always traveller47, your comprehensive suggestions. Really appreciated

Laval, Canada
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We stayed at the Times Suites and thought it was great. Nice location next to the park and easy bus ride ( or walk)to English bay or the port area.

We didn’t have or need a car in Vancouver.

Vancouver, Canada
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I wouldn't count an AirBnB out because the province, Vancouver and condo owners themselves have taken steps to make short term rentals more reliable. Not perfect, but much more reliable than in the early days of short term rentals (2016). Note that the 2016 CBC article linked above may be a wee bit out of date now.

Strata corporations (the collective of owners) have been able, since 2016 to pass bylaws to restrict or ban STRs within their building. Most owners do not want their condo building to be used as a hotel so they have passed those bylaws with a 3/4 vote of owners.

Vancouver City says that a STR can be an entire home or a room within that home as long as the rental is the home owner's principal property.

The province amended a provincial regulation in 2018 to allow fines of up to $1,000 a day to the condo owner or tenant who is not complying with the strata bylaws. This alone has caused most owners to remove their STR property from AirBnB. I have two condo owner friends who said that their STR troubles in their buildings dried right up after the first $1,000 fine was charged to the owner involved. Before that, the fine was $250 a week, which is just small change to some owners.

With the social distancing rules of the last 13 months due to COVID, inspection and enforcement by the city may be down to a trickle, so there may be some scofflaws who are taking advantage of that. The licence on display in any AirBnB listing can be checked for being legal through the chat feature or the ask a question feature in the City of Vancouver's website. https://vancouver.ca/doing-business/short-term-rentals.aspx

BTW, the condo that you mentioned in your OP at 688 Abbott is called Firenze II where there are currently no rental restrictions. But it would take just one AGM or Special General Meeting to vote those restrictions in. It's in a good location for a visit to Vancouver, just next to Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, International Village and Pender St with the #19 Stanley Park bus route, but I'm personally not too keen about the neighbourhood atmosphere or culture. You could find something better.

Jasper, Canada
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Curious, mufti - about the "no rental restrictions" for the strata; does that refer to tenancy rentals or short term rentals? The site I found said "rentals" were permitted, but I assumed that meant tenancies, as in 28+ days (or 30, or whatever the requirement is under the BC tenancy legislation).

Hmmm ... interesting what you can find online. Here are the bylaws of the strata corp. https://sites.google.com/site/firenzevancouver/general-information/bylaws Division 21, on page 26, makes it clear that tenancies are permitted but makes no specific mention of STRs. The owner of the condo must notify the strata within two weeks of a tenancy commencing, and faces fines if this is not done.

Perhaps my explanation was clumsy, but I did mention that an STR can be en entire housing unit, subject to it being the principal residence of the owner/tenant, who can temporarily stay elsewhere while their home is being rented as an STR, or who can share the home with STR visitors. Hence my warning about a place that is decorated such that it's obviously only used as an STR.

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