Short-Term Rentals

City of Victoria regulations allow short-term rentals for eligible operators. Eligible operators must have a Short-Term Rental Business Licence and comply with operating requirements.

View the Short-Term Rental Regulation Bylaw [PDF - 139 KB]
View the Operating a Short-Term Rental in Victoria info sheet.

Eligibility

You are eligible if:

  • Your short-term rental unit 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.
  • You own a legally non-conforming unit where transient accommodation was a permitted use.  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. 

You are not eligible if:

  • The short-term rental unit is:
    • a self-contained dwelling suite, except for when a renter rents it out on occasion with owner's permission.

For more information about eligiblity, view Schedule D - Home Occupations.

Applying for a Short-Term Rental Business Licence

You may apply for a short-term rental business licence by sending a complete application and supporting documentation to str@victoria.ca.

NOTE: All short-term rental business licences must be re-applied for annually. 

Short-Term Rental Business Licence Rates

  • Principal residence: $150 
  • All other types of short-term rentals: $1,500 

Short-Term Rental Business Licence Appeal Process

If you are denied a short-term rental business licence, you may request that Council reconsider your business licence application. You will have an opportunity to submit your reasons for reconsideration and Council may decide to either uphold or deny your appeal for a business licence. View the Short-Term Rental Business Licence Appeal Process Policy.

Start a request for appeal by sending an e-mail to the City Clerk’s Office at legislativeservices@victoria.ca.

Short-Term Rental and Zoning FAQs

  1. What are short-term rentals?

    Short-term rentals are rentals or leases offering the use of all or part of a dwelling for under 30 days at a time and include vacation rentals listed on online platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO.

  2. Where are short-term rentals currently permitted?

    Short-term rentals are currently permitted within the host’s principal dwelling unit (up to two bedrooms in an occupied dwelling unit with shared kitchen and living spaces). In addition, some short-term rentals may be allowed as a legal non-conforming use in areas previously zoned for transient accommodation.

  3. What are the current regulations?

    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 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 licence and vehicle registration.

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

    *Except for legally non-conforming units with transient accommodation 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.

  5. How do I apply for a business licence?

    You can submit your completed application and supporting documentation by email to str@victoria.ca or mail to: City of Victoria, Bylaw and Licensing Services, 1 Centennial Square, Victoria, BC V8W 1P6.

     

  6. How much does a business licence cost?

    Business licences are $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. Will I be able to rent out my home when I am away?

     
    You can rent out your home on occasion. You must prove this is your principal residence, obtain a business licence, and comply with regulations.
  8. I have a spare room I’d like to use as short-term rental. Is that allowed?

    You may offer up to two bedrooms within your principal dwelling unit. Your principal dwelling unit is the unit in which you reside.

  9. Are short-term rentals allowed in strata units?

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

  10. 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.

  11. I’m a renter. Can I have a short-term rental?

    The regulations allow renters to operate short-term rentals in their principal dwelling unit with permission from the owner of the property and strata, if applicable.

  12. What kind of documentation will be required for the application process?

    Two items stating principal residence address, one of which must include government-issued photo identification, are required. Both documents must be current and valid. Examples include a recent utility bill, driver's 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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 applicant must 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

    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

  17. I have a short-term rental licence but it expires in January. When can I expect my renewal?

    Your current licence will not be automatically renewed. All short-term rental business licences must be re-applied for annually.