Short-Term Rentals

The City is considering proposed new regulations for short term rentals, which allows short-term rentals in principal residences, subject to a business licence and compliance with operating requirements. 

                                View the report here                                
                                View the FAQs for the Short Term Rental Changes here

Council has approved changes to the Zoning Bylaw to prohibit short term rentals in residential units where ‘transient accommodation’ is a permitted use in zoning. View the Report Here (Item 5). These changes are in effect now.

                                View the list of affected zones here                                 
                                View the map of affected zones here                                
                                View the Zoning Changes Affecting Short Term Rentals FAQ here

As of September 21, 2017 Short Term Rentals are currently only permitted in Victoria in:

  • up to two bedrooms within a single family dwelling in Schedule D – Home Occupations (this use means up to two bedrooms within an occupied dwelling unit with shared kitchen and living space and does not include self-contained suites such as secondary suites or garden suites)
  • where “transient accommodation’ is permitted, some short term rentals may be allowed to continue to operate based on non-conforming use provisions in the Local Government Act.

Where Short Term Rentals are permitted, a transient business license is required. (Learn more about business licenses and how to apply for one here).

For more information: Zoning Changes Affecting Short Term Rentals

 

Still have questions?

  • For questions related to a specific property: See Zoning
  • For questions about business licences and how to apply: See Business Licences & Permits
  • For questions related to enforcement: See Bylaw Services
  • For questions related to future policy changes: Contact Legislative Services by phone at 250.361.0571 or via email.

Short Term Rental and Zoning FAQs:

 

  1. What are Short Term Rentals?

    Short term rentals are rentals under 30 days and include those listed on online platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO.

  2. Where are short term rentals currently permitted?

    Short term rentals are currently permitted as a home occupation in single family dwellings (up to two bedrooms in an occupied home with shared kitchen and living spaces). In addition, some short term rentals may be allowed as a legal non-conforming use in areas zoned for transient accommodation.

  3. Where are short term rentals currently prohibited?

    • Entire units throughout the City, including whole homes, secondary suites, garden suites and condos, unless they qualify as a legal non-conforming use

    • Home occupations in non-single family dwellings, including duplexes, townhouses, and apartments

  4. What are the proposed changes?

    Regulations are being considered by Council to allow Short Term Rental in principal residences only*, either within a dwelling unit while the occupant is present, or in the whole home on occasion, for example when the normal resident is on vacation.

    Principal residence is defined as:

    • The place that you live and conduct your daily affairs, like paying bills and receiving mail. It is generally the residence used in your government records for things like your income tax, medical services plan, driver’s license and vehicle registration.

    These rules are proposed to apply to both owners and renters (with landlord permission).

    *Except for legally non-conforming units in transient zones
  5. Why is the City making these changes?

    The City is concerned about the availability of housing for residents of Victoria. However, it also acknowledges that short term rentals can be a valuable part of the local economy. Therefore, the proposed changes are to allow short term rental in ways that will not affect the availability of long-term rental housing.

  6. Can I rent out my home when I am away right now?

    Under the current rules, this is not permitted. However, the proposed new rules would allow this on occasion, providing you can prove that it is your principal residence and a business licence is obtained.

  7. I have a spare room I’d like to use as short term rental, is that allowed?

    Under the existing rules, renting up to two bedrooms as short term rental is allowed in single family dwellings only, as a home occupation. The proposed new rules would mean this use (up to two bedrooms in an occupied home) would be allowed in all dwelling units, such as condos, duplexes, townhouses, secondary suites, and garden suites.

  8. Are short term rentals allowed in strata units?

    Currently, short term rentals are allowed in some stratas as legal non-conforming units in transient zones, and only if strata bylaws permit them. The proposed new rules would continue to allow this use, as well as home occupation use, and would require proof of compliance with strata rules to obtain a business licence.

  9. My strata bylaws state that short term rentals are not permitted in the building. Can I still have a short term rental?

    No. You must comply with your strata bylaws regardless of the City regulations. The City is not responsible for nor able to enforce strata bylaws.

  10. I’m a renter, how do these new changes affect me?

    The proposed new changes would allow renters to operate short term rentals in their primary residence, provided they have permission from their landlord.

  11. Do I need a business licence to operate a short term rental?

    Business licences are mandatory for all short term rentals. The City of Victoria is only accepting business licence applications for currently permitted short term rentals. If the proposed changes are approved, business licences for other types of short term rentals will be accepted.

  12. What are the requirements for receiving a business licence?

    In order to obtain a business licence, operators must complete an application form and submit a fee. The application will be checked for compliance with zoning and other City bylaws before a licence is issued.

    In future, the process is proposed to change, and operators will have to:

    • submit an application form, including all mandatory documentation

    • pay a fee of $200 for principal residency short term rentals and $2500 for short term rentals in units that are not occupied by the short term rental operator (legal-non-conforming)

    • Agree to comply with operating requirements, including applicable City bylaws

    • Display their business licence number on all short term rental listings

  13. What kind of mandatory documentation will be required for the new application process?

    • Two items proving principal residence, one of which must include government issued photo identification. Examples include a recent utility bill, drivers licence, Medical Services Plan or Canada Revenue Agency mail.

    • If a renter, a letter from the owner permitting short term rentals use

    • If in a strata, a letter from the Strata Council confirming short term rental use complies with strata bylaws and the Strata Property Act

  14. When will these changes come into effect?

    Council is currently considering these proposed regulations; if approved, it is anticipated that the new changes will come into effect in early 2018.

  15. What is transient accommodation?

    Prior to September 21, 2017, transient accommodation was a use in zoning that was defined as areas allowing hotels, motels, vacation rentals, and bed and breakfast accommodation.

  16. What has changed?

    On September 21, 2017, following a public hearing, Council adopted a change to the Zoning Regulation Bylaw that removed vacation rentals (short term rentals) from the definition of transient accommodation. Therefore short term rentals are no longer permitted in transient accommodation zones.

    There is no change to the home occupation use (this use is still allowed in single family homes throughout the City).

    New business regulations for short term rentals were also approved in principal by Council. These will be implemented in early 2018 following public consultation this fall.

  17. What does non-conforming use mean?

    Section 528 of the Local Government Act states that if a property was lawfully used at the time a bylaw is adopted, then that use may continue unless it ceases for a period of six continuous months. This is called non-conforming use. 

    Section 528 also states that in buildings where part of the building is authorized as legal non-conforming (for example one unit in a building), the whole of that building will have the continued right to that use, unless all operations cease for a period of six continuous months.

  18. How do non-conforming rights apply to short term rentals?

    Some buildings that are zoned for transient accommodation may be allowed to continue to operate a short term rental because of these non-conforming rules. However, because the zoning change no longer permits short term rentals as a right in transient accommodation zones, the operator will have to prove to the City that they should have legal non-conforming status.

    Legal non-conforming rights will only apply to units in transient accommodation zones, and only in certain instances.

    Legal non-conforming rights may apply:

    • in a building in a transient zone where at least one of the units was operating as a short term rental at the time of the bylaw change (September 21, 2017).

    Legal non-conforming rights will not apply:

    • where there was no short term rental in the building at the time of the bylaw change, even if that use had occurred in the past

    • where short term rentals were occurring unlawfully, such as in self-contained units throughout the City without transient zoning, including condos, whole houses, duplexes, townhomes, secondary suites, and garden suites.

  19. How do I know if my unit is considered legal non-conforming?

    The City will only confirm whether a property has legal non-conforming status at the time a business licence application is received. The onus will be on the applicant to provide proof that they should qualify for non-conforming status.

    Some forms of acceptable proof may include:

    • guest payment/receipt

    • booking confirmation

    • online listing showing availability or booking on September 21, 2017

    • existing 2017 business licence

    There may be other forms of acceptable evidence. Staff will assess whether evidence provided is sufficient to demonstrate legal non-conforming status on a case by case basis.

  20. How much does a business licence cost?

    Currently, business licence fees are $100 per year plus $5 for each additional room, however a new fee of $2,500 has been proposed for non-conforming units. Should the fee increase in the same year a new fee is adopted, consideration may be made for fees already paid.

  21. How do I apply for a business licence?

    Applications are available at the Public Service Counter on the first floor of City Hall, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Online applications are also available at www.victoria.ca/businesslicences