Short-Term Rentals

New regulations for short term rentals are now in place.

These regulations allow short-term rentals for eligible operators subject to a Business Licence and compliance with operating requirements.

Eligible operators must have a Short-Term Rental Business Licence. You can email your completed application and supporting documentation to str@victoria.ca.

You are eligible if:

  • Your short term rental is your principal residence – the whole home on occasion (for example, when you are on vacation), or up to two bedrooms in your home with shared kitchen and living spaces. This does not include a self contained suite, except for when a renter (with owner's permission) rents out a suite (their principal residence) on occasion. For more information, view Schedule D - Home Occupations [PDF - 49 KB].
  • You own a legally non-conforming unit where transient accommodation was a permitted use, otherwise known as a "grandfathered" property.  Changes to the Zoning Bylaw now prohibit short-term rentals in residential units where "transient accommodation" was a permitted use in zoning. However, properties may be considered legally non-conforming under this use if they have been operating a short-term rental in a transient accommodation zone prior to the zoning changes, and comply with strata regulations and operating requirements. If you have questions about your specific property, please contact Zoning at 250.361.0316. However, please note that for properties in transient zones, legal non-confirming status cannot be confirmed until a Business Licence application is processed.View the list of affected zones here. View the map of affected zones here.

View the Short-term Rental Regulation Bylaw [PDF - 345 KB]

New Business Licence rates:

  • $150 where the short-term rental is offered in the operator’s principal residence
  • $1,500 for all other types of short-term rentals

*Please note: As this legislation was enacted mid-year, the Business Licence rate for 2018 will be prorated.

Background:

View the February 22, 2018 Committee of the Whole report with proposed Business Licence fees
View the November 23, 2017 Committee of the Whole report
View the September 21, 2017 regulatory framework report                           

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. What are the new regulations?

    New regulations 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 usual dwelling unit where an individual lives and conducts their daily affairs, like paying bills and receiving mail. It is generally the residence used in government records for things like your income tax, medical services plan, driver’s license and vehicle registration.

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

    *Except for legally non-conforming units with transient accomadation as a permitted use.

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

    Yes. 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. Business Licences for other types of short term rentals will be accepted as of April 3, 2018.

  5. How do I apply for a business licence?

    Business Licences for short term rentals will be as of April 3, 2018.

     

  6. How much does a business licence cost?

    Business Licences will be $150 where the short-term rental is offered in the operator’s principal residence and $1,500 for all other types of short-term rentals.

  7. What are the requirements for receiving a Short Term Rental Business Licence?

    • Submit an application form, including all mandatory documentation.
    • Application will be reviewed and you will be invoiced. Once you have your account code, you can pay here.
    • Agree to comply with operating requirements, including applicable City bylaws.
    • Display a Business Licence number on all short term rental listings.
  8. Will I be able to rent out my home when I am away?

    The new rules allow this on occasion, providing you can prove that it is your principal residence and a business licence is obtained and regulations complied with.

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

    The 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.

  10. Are short term rentals allowed in strata units?

    The new rules allow this use as legal non-confirming units in former transient zones only if strata bylaw permit them, as well as short term rental in principal residences.

  11. 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.

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

    The new regulations allow renters to operate short term rentals in their primary residence, provided they have permission from their landlord, and strata if applicable.

  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 signed Owner Consent Form

    • If in a strata, a signed Strata Consent Form confirming the use complies with strata bylaws and the Strata Property Act.

  14. When will these changes come into effect?

    April 3, 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. New transient accommodation is hotels and motels only.

  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).

     

  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.

    *Proof must be specific to the property

  20. Why did the City make 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.