Short-term rentals can seem like a great way to utilize the extra space in a home and have an additional income, but it comes with a lot of legal responsibilities.
When travelling to other countries and cities, it can be easy to find an Airbnb. It may sound like a great business idea to make a property you own in Vancouver a short-term rental. However, it’s not as simple as posting an ad on Airbnb.ca.
Please enjoy this article and keep in mind that we are not licensed property managers nor do we run any short-term rentals ourselves. People who are seriously considering running an Airbnb or short-term rental should think of this article as a starting point to their research. Before pursuing short-term rentals, it’s important to seek legal advice and contact the local municipality.
According to Vancouver.ca a short term rental is an entire home or a room within that home, that is being rented for a period that is less than thirty days.
Anyone renting out their home as a short-term rental should operate from their principal residence, which is the address where he/she lives as an owner or tenant, and uses for bills, insurance, ID or taxes. Short-term rentals are only permitted in secondary homes or basement suites if an operator lives there full-time. Tenants wishing to rent out their homes need to get written permission from their landlords. Also, if an operator is living in a strata property, he/she must make sure that the strata bylaws allow for short-term rentals. A person renting out a property that is stratified would need written permission from both the landlord and the strata corporation. Short-term rentals are not allowed in homes that pay the Empty Homes Tax.
If an operator can accommodate short-term rentals in their principal residence, they should first get a short-term rental business license. Before applying for one, it’s essential to ensure that the property meets the licensing requirements. Some requirements include having a carbon monoxide detector on every floor there is a gas appliance, having interconnected smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom, posting a fire escape plan at every entrance and exit. These are just a few of the requirements. Please check Vancouver.ca’s short-term rental business requirements for a thorough list.
As of January 22, 2019 application fees for new business licenses are $58. To see up-to-date pricing, please visit Vancouver.ca.
An operator running a short-term rental without a business license could be in danger of incurring fines of up to $1,000 per offence, some of which can include but are not limited to operating without a business license, advertising or listing short-term rentals without displaying a valid-business license, operating a short-term commercial rental or operating in an unsafe or nuisance property. Commercial operators and those with repeat offences may be subject to prosecution and face fines of up to $10,000.
The above article was written specifically for Vancouver’s policies on short-term rentals. For short-term rental policies in other cities, contact the local municipality. To find more information and keep up to date with short-term rental regulations specifically for Vancouver, please visit Vancouver.ca or call 3-1-1 (604-873-7000 if you are outside Vancouver).
Regardless of which city you pick to run a short-term rental, you would have to check with an insurance broker to review the home insurance policies.