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illegal rentals

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The municipality and the Whistler Resort Association are looking at cracking down on the illegal rental of homes. "It’s a multi-facetted problem, and it’s growing," Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said Tuesday. "There are a lot more rooms available this winter, and some people have an unfair advantage." Operators of legitimate bed & breakfasts and pensions are among those complaining about illegal nightly rentals. Operations that are zoned for bed & breakfasts or pensions must pay WRA fees and are subject to regulations and inspections. Houses that aren’t zoned for tourist accommodation may not be rented out for less than 30 days at a time. "I haven’t heard people say ‘shut them down,’ I’ve heard people say ‘make the playing field fair,’" O’Reilly said. At the same time, he noted that some landlords who used to house residents are now kicking long-term renters out because nightly rental is more lucrative. More illegal nightly rentals than ever are being advertised in Lower Mainland and Seattle papers and on the Internet. Another factor is Whistler’s growing popularity among British skiers. Brits are used to skiing in Europe where they can rent a chalet, complete with a "chalet girl" who looks after all the cooking and cleaning during the vacation. Some local operators have established a network of chalets in Whistler subdivisions, which they market to British tour companies. "There are a lot of layers," O’Reilly said, "but the English tour companies are a major part of it. "The mountains are aware because they sell lift passes to the tour operators. The WRA is aware, too. "And with all the hotel rooms we have coming on next winter it’s going to be a major issue. "Whatever we set up we have to be able to enforce and monitor."

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