APPLY NOW - Vancouver Allows Short-term Rentals

Vancouver, with kudos from AirBnB, is allowing Vancouverites the ability to generate an income by way of short-term rentals.

As it stood the City of Vancouver did not allow residents to rent any space in their home for a period less than 30 days. As of April 18th bylaws will be enacted allowing for short-term rentals in the permanent residence of Vancouverites. Beginning Thursday, April 19th, Vancouverites will be able to apply for a Short-term Business License and as of September 1st, 2018, anyone short-term renting will be required to have one or be subject to fines.

The program has been created with a number of goals in mind but primarily to effect the cities long-term rental vacancy rate which is currently at or around 0.9% (As per April 10 Administrative Report). The idea being that regulating short-term rentals, and inflicting fines for non-compliance, that some of the roughly 6,700 units actively marketed as short-term rentals will return to the long-term rental pool.

Both homeowners and tenants will be able to take advantage of the program so long as they meet the city requirements.

The first criteria for a STR business licence is that the space you will be renting out is your principle residence. That means you will not be approved to short-term rent an investment unit or any secondary suite(s) you are not the primary resident of. For example:

  • You WILL be able to short-term rent the basement suite of the home you live in 
  • You WILL NOT be able to short-term rent the basement suite of a home in which the upstairs tenants are long-term leaseholders.
  • You WILL be able to rent the extra room in the condo you live in so long as building bylaws approve of STR’s

In council meeting minutes the City of Vancouver notes that if the city-wide rental vacancy rate (which is a major goal of the cities for this program to effect) “meets or exceeds 4%” they will give consideration to allowing secondary suites to be allowed in the program regardless of permanent residency status. This will be interesting to monitor for anyone that owns revenue property with multiple dwelling units in which one is currently rented long-term.

During the application process you will be required to provide a 24/7 access number while being asked to declare the following to be true:

  • You have your Landlord's permission - IF TENANT
  • Your building's strata bylaws permit STR's - IF STRATA
  • That your home is in fact a legal dwelling unit.
  • There is a posted fire plan at all entrances and exits
  • There are interconnected smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom
  • There is a working and accessible fire extinguisher on every floor
  • There are carbon monoxide detectors on every floor - If gas appliances exist within unit
  • Fire alarm exists in building - If building contains more than 3 units or 10 occupants
  • That by Jan 1 2023 you will comply with City bylaws for automated sprinklers and fire separation between units
  • That you inspect, test annually, and keep records of smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • That you review insurance policy to ensure appropriate coverage.
It is important to note that you will need to maintain the above mentioned items at all times you’re marketing the space for rent. Because you are self-declaring the above mentioned items you will be required to submit to regular audits and physical inspections by the City upon request.

The license costs:

One time Licensing fee of $56
2018 Licensing fee of $49 prorated as of date of application

AirBnB is noted to have as much as 88% market share in Vancouver's Short-term rental market. Lucky for us they have worked very actively with the City to see this plan come to fruition. For their part AirBnB has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city this month that states their agreement to require all Vancouver short-term rental listings to submit the business license number in the users listing. If you’re a user of AirBnB you may have received notifications in this regard.

Each licensee will be permitted to up to a maximum of two listings under the business license.

As of September 1st, 2018, all Vancouver Short-term rental listings advertised and marketed online will require a license number to be included within the listing or be at risk of non-compliance. The City insists they will actively monitor and enforce the bylaws and have been provided the ability to impose fines up to a $1,00 a day of the listings advertising.


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